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HM Chief Inspector of Prisons critical annual report

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HM Chief Inspector of Prisons critical annual report: Disturbing prison conditions have no place in the 21st Century

On 11 July 2018, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons produced his annual report for 2017 to 2018. The report covers 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 and highlights key areas of improvement for both male and female prisons; crucially highlighting that more needs to be done to ensure prison safety, improve poor living conditions and ensure more effective rehabilitation and release planning.

The report stipulates that 2017-2018 was a “dramatic period” and notably states that “HM Inspectorate of Prisons documented some of the most disturbing prison condition we have ever seen – conditions which have no place in the 21st century.” This comes amid a growing prison crisis, with staff shortages and funding cuts have a devastating impact upon the conditions of prisons and follows HMP Leeds being described as “unsafe and severely overcrowded” and HMP Nottingham being found to be “fundamentally unsafe”.

Such findings are a theme throughout the annual report, with prisons having failed to put in place previous recommendations.  HM Chief Inspector identifies that there have been increased levels of violence, self-harm and assault. A positive step was raised however, in noting that self-inflicted deaths in prison have declined. Despite this, even where prisoners are vulnerable, the report finds that casework is weak and adequate operational procedures are not in place to protect prisoners.

This is something that unfortunately the Minton Morrill inquest team see regularly and the criticism that too often the recommendations made by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman after a death in custody are not implemented, is also repeatedly seen by the inquest team with many issues with under-staffing, operational failings and failures to monitor prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm being areas of concern within multiple inquests.

If you would like to speak with a member of the Minton Morrill Civil Liberties Department regarding any of the above issues, please call on 0113 245 8549 or contact us by email at