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MP 'not surprised' at critical prison report

The MP for Winchester, Steve Brine has responded to an official report which criticises Winchester Prison for its 'deteriorating' state, and the way it has handled prisoners.

The conclusions from the Prisons Inspectorate followed an announced inspection visit in October 2012.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons acknowledged that a new leadership is now making improvements to the running of the jail.

Governor defends 'deteriorating' Winchester prison

The Governor of Winchester Prison, David Rogers, has defended the institution from criticism after an announced inspection. In a new report the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick - said while HMP Winchester had deteriorated sharply in recent times, its new leadership was making improvements.

The criticisms included findings that more than 50% of the inmates said they had felt unsafe at some time; and that while the jail had taken action to combat the supply of drugs, a third of inmates said it was easy to obtain drugs, and one in 10 said they had developed a drug problem while in jail.

Click here to see the full report on the HMP Winchester jail from HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.

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Disabled prisoners 'left in cells'

Winchester Prison
Winchester Prison Credit: PA Images

Two severely disabled prisoners were found crammed into a Victorian cell - designed for one - for almost 24 hours a day during an inspection of an "overcrowded" and "deteriorated" jail.

The two older inmates at HMP Winchester in Hampshire had not showered for months and relied on other prisoners to take them their meals, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found.

One third of the 680 prisoners told inspectors illegal drugs were "easily available", while one in 10 had developed a drug habit.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, said the category B prison, partly built in the 19th Century, has deteriorated sharply and is now of serious concern.

Winchester Prison
Winchester Prison Credit: PA Images

"Until shortly before the inspection, HMP Winchester was neglected and drifting," Mr Hardwick said.

"There had been pockets of good practice and, although many staff did their best, their efforts were often haphazard, inconsistent and badly coordinated."

Inspectors witnessed "foul abuse" towards vulnerable prisoners in the exercise yard and processes for locating prisoners on to the vulnerable wing were unclear.

The day-to-day experience of many prisoners was found to be poor, with insufficient activity places, the Inspectorate found.

Mr Hardwick said a new governor was appointed shortly before the inspection.

He said: "The new leadership was aware of many of the problems and we saw early signs of a determined effort to tackle them.

"But the prison is just at the start of the process of putting things right again, and it will be a long, hard task to do so."

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