Prison ‘stable and well-controlled’ despite two murders in four years - The Evesham Observer

Prison ‘stable and well-controlled’ despite two murders in four years

Evesham Editorial 28th May, 2018   0

AN EVESHAM high security prison which holds some some of the country’s most dangerous offenders has been declared a ‘stable and well-controlled’ jail despite two murders in the last four years.

Inspectors revealed their report into HMP Long Lartin on Tuesday following an in-depth examination of the South Littleton site in January.

The high-security jail, in which a quarter of the 510 men behind bars are classed as category A prisoners had suffered ‘several extremely serious incidents’ including the murder of two inmates since the last inspection in 2014.

However Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said despite the clear risk posed by the inmates his inspectors found a ‘well-controlled environment where most prisoners reported to us that they felt safe.’

Overall levels of violence had not risen, with assaults on prisoners falling since the last inspection, though an increase in assaults against staff was labelled concerning.

“Strategies and targets to combat violence were, in our view, comprehensive and robust,” he added.

Since 2014 at least three prisoners had taken their own lives but there had been good progress in implementing recommendations following investigations into those deaths by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). Support for those at risk of self-harm was generally good.

The management of security was the prison’s main priority and stringent perimeter security undoubtedly contributed to a less significant problem with illicit drugs than inspectors usually see.

There was good work to tackle staff corruption and inspectors also commended the way the prison dealt with the risk of extremism among prisoners.

About half the population was held in ageing house blocks which use the night sanitation system, an arrangement which allows prisoners access to toilets by the remote electronic unlocking of cells.

“Our report details the indignities imposed on prisoners by this arrangement, a system we have criticised repeatedly in the past,” Mr Clarke said.

Time out of cell was reasonable for those who worked, but inspectors found about a third of prisoners locked up during the working day.

“Long Lartin, despite the challenges, remains a fundamentally capable prison,” Mr Clake said.

“Its response to some of the very serious operational challenges it has had to deal with has been robust and measured and, in that sense, the establishment had not been knocked off course.

“Key challenges it had still to deal with concerned the legacy of some very poor accommodation and the need to routinely provide sufficient supervisory staff to sustain the daily routine.

“Key strengths remained a good staff culture which supported respectful engagement with prisoners and a competent management team with a good grip on the issues.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, said: “The Governor and her team have worked hard to provide a positive regime and more staff are now being recruited to further expand activity levels.

“Prisoners at Long Lartin all have single cells. We will review the operation of the electronic unlock system to minimise delays as far as possible, but we have no immediate plans to replace it given other funding priorities across the service.”

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