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Report hits out at post-merger jail

Merging three prisons has left an institution where drug use is endemic, the use of force is high and inmates seek sanctuary in a segregation unit, a report has revealed.

An inspection of HMP Isle of Wight found a quarter of prisoners were locked in their cells during the day in one section of the jail.

Night sanitation arrangements were "unacceptable" and "degrading", while staff resorted to "inappropriate" use of special accommodation, it concluded.

The report showed some progress had been made since the amalgamation of the Parkhurst, Albany and Camp Hill sites but this had created a massive institution with a large number of "inherited weaknesses".

Among their observations, inspectors noted that safety had deteriorated at Camp Hill while there was not enough education, training or work to keep inmates purposefully occupied.

Too many of them were unemployed and not enough focus was placed on vocational qualifications, they said.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said the "worrying" findings reflected the "true cost of unchecked prison expansion".

"Merging three separate prisons into one massive establishment has created a prison that, despite some improvements, is difficult to manage, unsafe in parts, with poor conditions in others and a lack of proper provision for education, training and work overall," she said.

"These are lessons the Government will need to consider carefully as it reviews its plans for the prison estate."


From Belfast Telegraph