HMP Liverpool rats drugs violence and squalor at prison with worst conditions

first_imgA broken cell window at the prison in Liverpool, where guards intercepted more than one drone carrying contraband every weekCredit: HM Inspectorate of Prisons/PA HMP Liverpool The Chief Inspector of Prisons said there had been ‘abject failure’ at LiverpoolCredit: HM Inspectorate of Prisons/ PA Its chairman Bob Neill said: “This inspectorate’s report is one of the worst I have ever seen.” HM Inspectorate of Prisons has described the ‘squalid’ state of HMP Liverpool, condemning the establishment for having the worst conditions inspectors have seen.In one of its most scathing reports in recent years, the inspectorate described rats, drugs and ‘decrepit’ facilities at the Victorian prison in the city’s Walton area.Drones carrying drugs and other illicit items were described as a ‘substantial problem’, with staff recovering 32 of the gadgets in six months prior to the September inspection – a rate of more than one a week. Concern over the conditions at Liverpool, a category B facility holding 1,115 men at the time of the inspection, first surfaced at the end of last year when details of the report were revealed by the BBC. – Violence of all kinds had increased, with assaults on staff more than tripling compared with the last assessment in 2015.Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: “The inspection team was highly experienced and could not recall having seen worse living conditions than those at HMP Liverpool.”Many cells were not fit to be used and should have been decommissioned. I saw piles of rubbish that had clearly been there for a long time, and in which inspectors reported seeing rats on a regular basis.” HMP Liverpoolcenter_img Mr Clarke raised particular concerns over the case of one vulnerable man with complex mental health needs who was held in a cell that had no furniture other than a bed.”It should not have needed my personal intervention for this man to be moved from such appalling conditions,” he said.The chief inspector concluded there had been an “abject failure” to offer a safe and decent environment at the prison.He added: “This report makes it crystal clear that leaders at all levels, both within the prison and beyond, had presided over the failure to address the concerns raised at the last inspection.”The Commons Justice Committee will hold an evidence session on the findings next week. In a catalogue of critical findings, the assessment said:- Drugs were readily available: nearly two-thirds of inmates in a survey said they were easy to get hold of- Four prisoners had taken their own lives since the previous inspection and two more suspected suicides occurred shortly after the latest visit- Many cells had broken windows with dangerous jagged glass, damp, leaks and broken or blocked toilets- Communal areas were in a ‘decrepit’ state and there was a significant problem with cockroaches and rats throughout the jail Michael Spurr, chief executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, acknowledged the conditions at the prison were “unacceptable”.He said: “We are committed to fixing this, have already made changes where we can, and have today published a comprehensive action plan to address the Chief Inspector’s concerns.”Following the inspection we took immediate action to rectify the situation.” A new governor has been appointed, cleanliness has been improved and a maintenance backlog almost halved, he said.Mr Spurr added: “Liverpool has a dedicated staff who are committed to providing a safe and decent environment for prisoners.”The Ministry of Justice has announced a number of measures to stem the flow of contraband into prisons, including a specialist unit to counter the threat from drones. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more