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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gloucester prison accommodation criticised by report

Gloucester prison accommodation criticised by report

A report on Gloucester's prison has criticised the repeated failure to address "serious problems" with the jail's Victorian accommodation.

Gloucester Prison is a category B adult jail and young offender centre

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said cuts to the prison budget had made it harder to rehabilitate prisoners and put some staff under stress.

But it praised the prison's leadership and the relationship between employees and inmates.

The Ministry of Justice said it would respond to the findings in due course.

In the report, the board said it was "profoundly dismayed by the repeated failure to deal with accommodation problems highlighted in previous reports by the IMB and HM Chief Inspector of Prisons".

'Very poor state'

It said the present first floor reception was "not fit for purpose," worn out and not accessible to prisoners with mobility problems.

The report said the fabric of C wing was in a "very poor state" despite the the "valiant attempts" of the prison work's department.

It said despite modifications to the night sanitation regime prisoners still had no 24 hour access to a toilet and running water facilities.

The report also said prisoners in A and B wings did not enjoy a "decent environment" as their cells had a toilet behind a curtain screen yet had to eat in them.

Brian Drury, chairman of the IMB, said until a few years ago it was hopeful the worst of the accommodation blocks would be rebuilt but government spending cuts had led to those proposals being dropped.

"Until fairly recently funds were afoot to replace it - that would have got rid of the problem of night sanitation.

"The system that is operated means they cannot get out and have access to toilet and water 24 hours-a-day.

"There's no chance, or so it seems, for that [C] wing now being renovated," he added.

Earlier this year the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, said the jail needed "urgent attention" and said the prison's performance had deteriorated and was disappointing.

Gloucester Prison is a Category B adult jail and young offender centre which houses some 323 prisoners.

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