Sussex prison locks prisoners in filthy cells, report says

PRISONERS were left locked in filthy cells for hours with only one set of clothes, a damning official report has found.

Some detainees at HMP Lewes have found that a lack of clothing means they were left without clothes when they were sent to be washed.

The report, issued by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, suggests that many prisoners are locked in their cells 22 hours a day and have “restricted access to work, education or activity”.

Charlie Taylor, Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: “This was a disappointing inspection of a prison that had made some good progress in our 2019 Independent Review of Progress (IRP).

“There is no doubt that the pandemic restrictions have hampered the ambitious governor in her work to improve the prison, but still the recovery has been too slow.

“Lewes is a difficult prison to staff and operate, with old buildings that are expensive to maintain, but there needs to be a greater focus on getting some of the basics right.

“There is an opportunity to build momentum with a potentially effective leadership team to get this prison back on track and a better place for prisoners and staff to work.”

The Argus: A single cell at HMP LewesA single cell at HMP Lewes

The report also found that prisoners had difficulty contacting their families through official channels, with one man claiming he had not been able to let anyone know he was in prison.

It had previously been noted that in 2019 the Category B prison was holding prisoners for all but an hour a day, with the new report noting that “there are no plans to increase time out of cells for the many unemployed prisoners”.

It is also said that detainees did not receive adequate care, particularly those at risk of suicide or self-harm, where paperwork was often incomplete.

The report also found high levels of violence within the prison and no strategy to understand and prevent the source of these incidents.

Staff shortages and poor retention were cited as reasons for the prison’s lack of improvement.

A previous report by the independent monitoring body said they “didn’t think the regime was humane this year.”

The Department of Justice has been asked for comment. Sussex prison locks prisoners in filthy cells, report says

Fry Electronics Team

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