Inmates forced to share comforts due to overcrowding in Dorset prisons

OVERCROWDING during prisons is forcing prisoners to share cells, eating, sleeping and even regulating a toilet in spaces designed for one.

Both Dorset’s Guy’s Marsh Prison in Shaftesbury and Portland Prison are oversubscribed according to Ministry of Justice figures, as is HMP Winchester where many prisoners from Dorset are sent.

Prisons enclose a series of one and two-person cells. In packed prisons, some-more inmates will be put in cells than they were creatively designed to hold.

The total uncover that 491 prisoners were congested into only 453 spaces during Guy’s Marsh in March.

In HMP Portland, 489 prisoners were pity 463 spaces.

At Winchester, 629 prisoners were pity 458 spaces.

Campaigners contend that a violent arise of a jail race is obliged for a outrageous boost in assaults on staff and other inmates – a conditions described final week as a “national emergency”.

The Prison Service measures a possess ability in terms of ‘certified normal accommodation’ – a series of prisoners it says it can accommodate in a “good, decent customary of accommodation that a use aspires to yield all prisoners”.

However, with a infancy of prisons packed opposite England and Wales, they also have a apart magnitude called ‘operational capacity’ – a limit series of prisoners any establishment can safely hoop while progressing control and security.

In March, Guy’s Marsh’s race stood during 96 per cent of this capacity, Portland’s during 92 per cent and Winchester’s during 93 per cent.

Frances Crook, arch executive of a Howard League for Penal Reform, pronounced final week: “This ashamed arise in assault and self-injury is a approach outcome of process decisions to concede a series of people behind bars to grow violent while starving prisons of resources.”

Figures expelled final month showed 211 assaults were available during Guy’s Marsh in 2017, some-more than triple a series in 2012.

There were 303 assaults during Portland in 2017, double a series in 2012, and 369 assaults during Winchester – 6 times a series 5 years ago.

Between a 3 prisons there were some 340 attacks on jail staff by inmates final year.

There were also 172 cases of self-harm available during Guy’s Marsh final year, 188 during Portland and 474 during Winchester.

The executive of a Prison Reform Trust, Peter Dawson, said: “Overcrowding isn’t simply a box of being forced to share a cramped space for adult to 23 hours a day where we contingency eat, nap and go to a toilet.

“It directly undermines all a basis of a decent jail system, including work, reserve and rehabilitation.

“Despite a probably permanent programme of jail building, overcrowding has been an unwavering existence of a jail complement given 1994. Building prisons isn’t a resolution – violation a obsession to seizure is.”

A orator for a Ministry of Justice said: “Prison numbers can fluctuate, that is because we have strong skeleton in place to safeguard we always have adequate jail places for those sent to us by a courts.

“We will always safeguard there are adequate cells opposite a jail estate, and conduct this in a approach that gives taxpayers a best probable value for money.

“We are investing £1.3 billion to build complicated new establishments, with adult to 10,000 new jail places and improved preparation facilities.”

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