Prisons in the press – 21 October

Prison reforms “simply not achievable” amid “loss of control”

Credit: Guillermo Ruiz, Flickr

Credit: Guillermo Ruiz, Flickr

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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.

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Hot off the press

Prison reforms “simply not achievable” amid “loss of control”, warns the former chief inspector of prisons. Speaking at a lecture in London, Professor Nick Hardwick said rising suicides, assaults and murders in jails were proof of the “loss of control”. The BBC has more.

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Revealed this week

  1. Overcrowding and drugs still a problem in Swansea prison, report warns. Inspectors said that although modernisation has added extra capacity, Swansea is still one of the most overcrowded prisons in the UK. The South Wales Evening Post has more.
  2. Prison whistleblower reveals inmates are deliberately hurting themselves for lucrative compo claims. Dr Gordon Cameron, who worked as a prison doctor for 10 years, has lifted the lid on inmates’ cons. The Mirror has the story.
  3. Extra security now in place at Wellingborough Prison after Travellers’ eviction. Concrete barriers have been installed at a former prison to stop any illegal encampments on the site. The Northamptonshire Telegraph has more.
  4. Prisoner who battered cellmate to death with a TV jailed for 14 years. “Particularly brutal” attack happened after prisoner unknowingly fell under the influence of the synthetic cannabis drug Spice. The Guardian has the full story.

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The prisons that hit the headlines   

  1. Prisoner stabbed to death and two others injured at Pentonville prison. The Prison Governors Association called Tuesday’s incident a tragedy but “no massive surprise” and has demanded an inquiry into the state of jails in England and Wales. The BBC has more.
  2. Prison officers uncover £350,000 stash of drugs in UK jail’s biggest find. Five kilos of pyschoactive Spice were found at crisis-hit HMP Northumberland – which was forced to spend £1million changing all its locks after keys were stolen from a guard. The Mirror has the story.
  3. HMP Bullingdon: Prison denies covering up five serious assaults. The Prison Officers Association said it was “extremely concerned” the incidents at HMP Bullingdon had not been reported in line with national guidelines. The BBC has more.

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In context

Giving a lecture in London, Professor Nick Hardwick said rising suicides, assaults and murders in jails were proof of the “loss of control” in UK jails.

The government says it will set out prison safety and reform plans soon. It has already announced an extra £10m to be spent on prison safety, and 400 extra staff are due to be deployed by March next year.

In his speech, Prof Hardwick said homicide in prison had previously been rare at between one and three a year, but had risen to seven in 2015 and five so far this year.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick says Panorama's findings are very concerning. Image.

Former Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick.

Prof Hardwick said: “I don’t believe this recent increase is a coincidence. It is the most extreme example of the decline in safety that I have been warning about for years.”

“I see no sign that the number of homicides, self-inflicted deaths, self-harm incidents and assaults will not continue to rise.

“Politicians, policy-makers and senior managers need to think through very, very carefully and honestly the consequences of further deterioration and how this might end up,” he added.

The BBC has the full story.

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In other news

Prison officer “besotted” with inmate “caught with syringe filled with his semen”, a court has been told. Alison Sharples was allegedly told by prisoner Marvin Berkeley that he wanted a baby with her. The Mirror has the full story.

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If you’d like to be added to the Prisons in the Press list to receive the newsletter every Friday, please email us at: UKprisonwatch@gmail.com 



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