A prison in London has shown a “Lacklustre” response to self-inflicted deaths despite major warnings that it must improve and widespread concerns over failures across the penal estate to respond to inmate suicides.
The Prison Inspectorate said conditions in HMP Pentonville have worsened over the past year despite its report published in April last year warning that there had been an “alarming” rise in violence and drugs in the jail, with inmates forced to live in cells without lighting or hot water.
Violence in HMP Pentonville had soared by more than 50 per cent since 2017, last year’s report found, and self-harm as an expression of despair continued to be a daily occurrence, with reported incidents increasing by 20 per cent, from 500 to 598 in a year.
In a separate report last year, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said that there was a “lack of decency” in the prison’s physical environment that was deemed “incompatible” with maintaining humanity and dignity.
Now, an independent review of progress (IRP) carried out last month to assess key concerns and recommendations from the Prison Inspectorate’s 2019 report found there was “cause for continued concern”, with prison inspectors finding that HMP Pentonville showed the poorest progress in any IRP since the new type of follow-up visits were introduced by the Inspectorate in April last year.
The chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, said the implementation of safety strategies had been “neither swift nor effective”, with overall levels of violence having further increased by 10 per cent, and assaults on staff rising by 30 per cent.
There had been four self-inflicted deaths between the Prison Inspectorate’s reports in 2017 and 2019, but Mr Clarke said the response to recommendations made by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) following its investigations into the deaths had been “inadequate”.Read More…