GLOUCESTER PRISON NOT SAFE SAYS INSPECTORS – Vulnerable prisoners targetted for attack

Inspectors who visited a prison in Gloucestershire where concerns had been raised before found that it seemed to have “stood still”, they said in a report published.

Gloucester Prison has many problems to address, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, as he introduced the report of an unannounced inspection.

Inspectors were concerned during their visit in July to find that the environment for vulnerable prisoners at the Category B local prison was poor, and there was evidence that they experienced abuse and intimidation from other prisoners.

Segregated prisoners were not continually supervised, though this was mitigated by low numbers and generally brief stays, while the accommodation was among the poorest in the prison system, and prisoners did not have enough time out of their cells.

There was not enough for prisoners to do and inspectors found well over half of the population locked up during the working day.

Mr Hardwick said in his introduction to the report: “Gloucester is one of the older establishments in the prison system, with a poor infrastructure and situated in a cramped inner-city location.”

He said there were relatively few incidents of recorded violence, despite underdeveloped structures to confront anti-social behaviour, and the incidence of self-harm was similarly low, though there had been two self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection.

But he added: “The treatment of vulnerable prisoners remained a significant concern. The environment where they lived was poor and their regime very limited, and there was evidence that they experienced abuse and intimidation from other prisoners.

“The experience for vulnerable prisoners who had to be held on mainstream locations, if numbers required it, was even worse.

“The treatment of segregated prisoners was similarly concerning – this high-risk group were not even continually supervised, although this was mitigated by low numbers and generally brief stays.”