Prisons in the press – 7th August

Security stepped up online and drones drop drugs into prisons   

Prison services crack down on inmates’ use of social media whilst guards face the new threat posed by drones. Image: Kate Ter Haar

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Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.

 

Hot off the press

Wormwood Scrubs has been labelled one of the worst prisons in England and Wales. A report published by the National Offender Management Service noted that cells were ‘unfit for dogs.’ The Mirror has the full story.

In context

This latest report follows Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick’s 2014-15 annual report in which Mr Hardwick remarked:

“Overcrowding was sometimes exacerbated by extremely poor environments and squalid conditions. At Wormwood Scrubs, staff urged me to look at the cells. ‘I wouldn’t keep a dog in there’, one told me.”

In July 2015 Wormwood Scrubs ranked 7th highest in the UK for the number of suicides in custody, the same month The Harris Review linked the rise in self inflicted deaths to the chronic understaffing of our prison system. 

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 10.58.09

MoJ Statistics

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To read more about deaths in custody and to find out who the worst offenders are, read more here.

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Revealed this week

  1. Drones are being used to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into prisons. Official figures show prison chiefs intercepted seven of the remote controlled flying devices in the four months leading up to May. The Mirror has the story.
  2. G4S paid author of ‘independent’ youth prison report as a consultant. The Guardian has learned that former prisons chief Sir Martin Narey said Rainsbrook secure training centre treated children ‘overwhelmingly well’ despite inspectors condemning the institution months earlier. Read more here.
  3. Liverpool’s Walton Prison performance ‘is of concern’ according to the National Offender Management Service. This is as a result of spiralling violence, both against staff and between prisoners, sparked by gang warfare and the prevalence of synthetic legal high drugs. The Liverpool Echo has more.

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Online and behind bars 

  1. Wardens crack down on prisoners using social media. The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has launched 89 separate investigations into suspected abuse across the country in 2014 and 2015. The Press and Journal has the full story.
  2. Two prison guards have been sacked for posting offensive messages about a dead inmate. The BBC reports that two guards from Forest Bank jail in Salford were dismissed after an investigation, while the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman continues to investigate the death of Welsh prisoner Ashley Gill. Read more here.

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In other news 

Pink Floyd star uses ex-prisoner choir on his new single. Guitarist David Gilmour recorded “Rattle That Lock” with The Liberty Choir, a group whose members include former inmates from the prison where his son served time. The BBC has the full story.

 



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