'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."

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?