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HMP Risley 'not fit for purpose'
HMP Risley has been heavily criticised in a new report by a prison watchdog.
Prisoners are being kept in cells for 22 hours, violent behaviour and drug activity are on the up and some facilities are not fit for purpose, according to the Independent Monitoring Board’s latest report.
A spokesman said: “The continued requirement to make savings is having an adverse effect upon staff and prisoners, resulting in more violence (prisoner on prisoner and prisoner on staff).
“This is unacceptable and more resources should be given to ensure that prisoners are not left in cells for extended periods.
“In spite of the efforts of staff to maintain the normal regime, a reduction in the level of overtime covering for staff absences is resulting in the deterioration of some aspects of prison life.”
The prison, on Warrington Road, houses 1085 male prisoners in seven wings, two of which house the most dangerous offenders.
There are currently 98 lifers and 219 sex offenders held there, along with 172 foreign nationals.
Inspectors say useful activity for prisoners remains ‘too low’ with workshops operating at 10 per cent of capacity.
It means prisoners, mainly those who cannot work, are spending 22 hours a day locked down.
There is an ‘ever increasing’ problem with drugs and mobile phones in the prison, say inspectors, while the B wing is not fit for purpose.
Showers do not work, there are cockroaches and rooms are cramped.
The spokesman said: “It is the state of the facilities and equipment which concern the board most.
“Although the minister is well aware of the problem he has not seen fit to address it.”
Budget cuts of 20 per cent have also meant that the number of drug dogs and handlers have been reduced, with security staff ‘overstretched’.
And the report also says that 24 prisoners have been detained beyond their sentences, some because they are unable to obtain travel documents from relevant embassies.
One prisoner is 23 months over sentence.