Prison staff 'in danger of losing control': Chief inspector of jails says disturbed inmates at Bristol having to wait too long for treatment

INMATES with psychiatric problems in Bristol Prison often have to wait months for treatment while staff on one wing are losing control to the prisoners, according to a report published today.

Judge Stephen Tumim, the chief inspector of prisons, said that lengthy waiting times for a secure bed within Wessex Regional Health Authority meant that staff had to look after 'psychiatrically ill people (who should be in hospital) for many weeks despite urgent referrals to the NHS'.

One severely disturbed man was left for four days without treatment because the health centre had inadequate procedures to deal with patients who were too ill to give their consent, according to the report. Judge Tumim said that a strategy should be devised for similar situations.

Despite two suicides within the 12 months up to January 1992, suicidal patients were only checked on every 15 minutes because of staffing problems. 'Leaving patients in these rooms continuously with only intermittent supervision at 15-minute intervals was both dangerous and unacceptable by modern therapeutic standards,' Judge Tumin said. He recommended an increase in the number of nurses so that suicidal patients could be continuously observed.

The report criticised the health centre as 'claustrophobic and difficult to staff' and said it should be replaced with a new building. However, Judge Tumim praised the prison's staff for the improvement in their relationship with the inmates since the 1990 riots when 17 staff and 12 prisoners were injured. But he said staff morale on C wing was low and there was a 'general lack of faith' in the prison's management.

In C wing, where vulnerable prisoners under Rule 43 are housed with ordinary inmates, staff said there was a danger of losing control to the prisoners. Judge Tumim said graffiti on the outside of cell doors was evidence that 'inmate culture' appeared to dominate the wing and staff seemed to have relinquished control.

Frances Crook, the director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said it was very worrying when prisoners gained control and it was a 'recipe for undercurrents of violence and bullying'.

After the riots, the 1991 Woolf Report had described the general conditions as 'unacceptable'. Apart from redevelopment work, Judge Tumim said conditions had changed very little and 'it remained a busy, overcrowded local prison offering few facilities to inmates'. The regime for those serving life sentences was inadequate and should be upgraded to include facilities for cooking, recreation, counselling and advice.

Following Judge Tumim's report Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, said that the criticisms arising from the four-day inspection last June were being addressed and action included more healthcare staff as well as improvements in the prisoners' regimes.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas