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Prisoner's treatment 'amounts to torture'

The Howard League for Penal Reform has criticised a Surrey prison where an inmate was kept in a "squalid" segregated cell for more than five years, saying the woman's treatment amounts to torture.

Chief Executive Frances Cook said the case "should shame ministers who tolerate the over-use of custody for women and consequent poor treatment." He went on to say:

"Although more activities had been organised for her and better multi-disciplinary support was available, she still had too little to occupy her. Her prolonged location on the segregation unit amounted to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment - and we use these words advisedly."

File photo of a general view of HMP Bronzefield Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Wire

It comes after HMP Bronzefield near Ashfield was criticised by inspectors at an unannounced visit earlier this year.

Inmate held in "squalid" prison cell

A Surrey prison is under fire for holding a female inmate in segregation in a "squalid" cell for more than five years. The discovery was made during an unannounced visit to HMP Bronzefield women's prison near Ashfield, Surrey, in April, said the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick.

In the inspection report he said:

"We were dismayed that the woman who had already been in the segregation unit for three years in 2010 was still there in 2013. Her cell was unkempt and squalid and she seldom left it."

– Chief Inspector Nick Hardwick