PrisonPhone Weekly News Roundup

HMP Bedford

Pest control at HMP Bedford has failed so miserably that an inmate caught and killed rats in his cell during an inspection in September 2018! There are even signs on the doors of some wings requesting they are kept closed to further prevent infestation.

Standards at HMP Bedford have continued to decline even after two years of efforts to improve the conditions there. The report describes the cells as filthy and decrepit with toilets that do not flush. Bedford is yet another prison where Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons, felt compelled to invoke the ‘ Urgent notification’ protocol. After the report’s recommendations had been written Rory Stewart, Prisons’ Minister visited the prison last week and has assured watchers that significant improvements are being made to the prison. He admits there is still a lot of work to be done around security and safety, but says this will be steadily improved. Rory Stewart, alongside David Gauke Minister for Justice seems to be determined to improve the prison system for all inmates. It will be interesting to see what they achieve in the year to come.

‘Mamba’ at Stoke Heath Prison

An inmate at HMP Stoke Heath, who was suspected of receiving quantities of the drug ‘Mamba’ and supplying others, whilst in segregation, has avoided another jail sentence. Although the court of appeal encourages judges to hand out custodial sentences for supplying drugs to inmates as a deterrent, Judge Lowe said it would be counter productive in this case. Twenty two year old Coben Horrocks was released in January 2018 and has since then turned his life around, according to his probation officer Dawn Telford. Horrocks told officers he understood the effects of Mamba that caused mayhem in the prisons and turned inmates into Zombies, having been previously addicted himself. Judge Lowe warned Horrocks not to mess up the ‘golden opportunity’ he has been given.

Death at HMP Manchester

John Ahmed died in 2015 at HMP Manchester. He had been involved in a ‘tussle’ with his guards, and the force exercised played a role in his death an inquiry has found. Police are now investigating claims of perjury and misconduct at the prison surrounding the death of Ahmed after concerns about the evidence submitted emerged.

Computer Games at HMP Addiewell

HMP Addiewell is a privately run prison, the current contract being held by Sodexo although after it expires, Scotland’s Labour spokesperson, Daniel Johnson has suggested it be brought into the public sector management.

Wendy Sinclair Gieben, Scotland’s Chief Inspector of Prisons says Addiewell is a safe and well run prison, officers and inmates have effective working relationships throughout the halls. However, Addiewell is a learning institution and is failing to live up to this expectation. Few inmates are actively engaged in the education, training and jobs offered and prefer to play computer games in the mezzanine area. The high quality sports facility only operates at 25% capacity, due to lack of interest from the inmates.

The problem seems to be a lack of experienced staff, and staff shortages, currently there is a shortfall of 36 officers. One third of the staff have less than two years of experience and 1 in five less than 12 months experience. Apparently some inmates have more knowledge of how the prison is run than the staff do! The staff are deployed across all areas as required by the prison which does not help role stability and relationship building with the inmates. Sodexo has replied to criticism saying staff pay has been realigned and the retention and training of staff is being addressed.

HMP Castle Huntly has escapee

HMP Castle Huntly is an open prison near Dundee, prisoners here are those who have been assessed as those with a low risk of escape. However, this week Grant McNamara made the break and is loose in the Paisley area. McNamara is 26 years old, and 6’ 2”tall with short brown hair. Police are advising anyone who sees him to call 111 or 999 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

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