'Failing' prison neglected disabled inmates

A disabled prisoner was unable to wash properly for over a year because staff refused to carry him to the showers, a damning report revealed today.



Another disabled prisoner went six months without a shower because of a lack of staff "trained" to push his wheelchair, an official inspection found.

Inspectors said HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight, where both men were held, lacked "basic levels of safety and decency".

Prisoners were poorly supervised by staff, violence was "endemic" and there was widespread abuse of prescription drugs.

It's claimed injuries to prisoners that were described as "unexplained" were not properly investigated, and a proper inquiry was not carried out into an alleged assault of a prisoner by a member of staff.

The report also found a group of radical Muslim prisoners were able to spread their extremist message to other inmates.

The Muslim chaplain who offered to set up a teaching group to combat the radicals received "little support" from management.

One group of staff were described by inmates as "intimidating", and inspectors overheard prisoners referred to as "bodies".

The category B prison, which holds nearly 500 mostly violent and sexual offenders, is a former military hospital first converted into a prison in the mid-19th century.

The report paints a picture of a dysfunctional institution. Parts of the prison building were dilapidated and litter dumped out of cell windows went uncollected.

Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers said Parkhurst was a "troubled institution" with "substantial shortcomings".

She said relations between staff and management were "exceptionally poor".

The report said: "One prisoner with impaired mobility had not been able to shower for over a year, apparently for lack of staff support.

"Another who used a wheelchair was denied access to a basic regime and had not been able to shower for six months, apparently because only three staff were prepared to push his wheelchair and they had not been available to undertake this task."

Ms Owers said: "In many ways, Parkhurst is a failing prison: prisoners feel unsafe and poorly treated, and neither the environment nor the regime are suited to the role of a modern training prison.

"Exceptionally poor industrial relations also exert a malign influence over an already troubled institution."

"Parkhurst badly needs regional and national support to ensure the restoration of basic levels of safety and decency, together with investment to increase purposeful activity."

Phil Wheatley, director general of the National Offender Management Service, said he accepted the prison had fallen below an acceptable standard.

"Parkhurst now forms part of HMP Isle of Wight, whose Governor has embarked from May 1 this year on a radical programme of change with the help of a new senior management team."

"I am determined that the creation of the new prison and the associated restructuring will deliver the changes required," he said.



Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said today that she had called on the Prison Service to comply with its responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act.

She said she was writing to Director-General Phil Wheatley, Secretary of State Jack Straw and Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, to ensure the service does comply.

She said: "The Ministry of Justice is breaking the law by allowing Parkhurst and other jails to be used as an inhumane, double punishment for disabled people."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable