Wandsworth jail attacked for catalogue of safety failures
Levels of self-harm and self-inflicted deaths were high and there was abusive language from staff to prisoners
The safety of inmates at Britain's biggest prison is in jeopardy, bullying is not properly tackled and relations with staff are strained and even abusive, inspectors have warned.
In a damning report, Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, said the treatment of many offenders at Wandsworth jail was "demeaning, unsafe and fell below what could be classed as decent".
He protested that managers seemed unwilling to tackle problems at the 1,650-inmate prison in south-west London. Mr Hardwick said progress in improving the regime at the 160-year-old prison, which holds "a challenging population with multiple problems", had stalled with high levels of self-harm and inadequate protection for the victims of bullying.
He warned that prisoners' safety was now "a matter of serious concern" and called on the Prison Service management to "act decisively" to reverse the jail's decline.
The inspectors said: "Wandsworth compared badly with similar prisons facing similar challenges and we were concerned by what appeared to be unwillingness among some prison managers and staff to acknowledge and take responsibility for the problems the prison faced."
Levels of self-harm and self-inflicted deaths were high and inspectors "observed indifference and disinterest from staff and, on a few occasions, abusive language towards prisoners". The report also found that some prisoners were out of their cells for just two hours a day.
Others who were stabilising from drugs or detoxing from alcohol were transferred out of a unit where they could be closely monitored before stabilisation was complete, a situation described as "potentially dangerous" by the inspectors.
There also appeared to be little attempt to resolve underlying reasons for the behaviour of prisoners who were transferred to the segregation unit, they said.
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "Prisoners are being detained in revolting conditions. Such abuse hampers safe return to the community and puts victims at risk."
Geoff Dobson, deputy director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "This shocking report, one of the worst I can remember, shows how quickly and how far a large prison can go downhill. The chief inspector has exposed an establishment that was in some respects close to a warehouse, leaving many of those in its charge more damaged than when they were taken in through its gates."
Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, admitted it was a poor report, but said action had already been taken to tackle problems. "I visited the prison last week and I am satisfied improvements are being made," he added.
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...