1. ITV Report

HMP Bedford unit "dungeon plagued with rats"

HMP Bedford Credit: ITV Anglia

A prisons watchdog has said inmates at HMP Bedford are living with a "plague of rats", "consistent infestation of cockroaches" and "significant" violence.

The Independent Monitoring Board(IMB) heavily criticised the jail's segregation unit describing it as a "dungeon" and saying it "can no longer be considered a humane place to hold prisoners."

The IMB is made up of local volunteers who visit prisons several times a month.

Their annual report found regular shortages of basic items, drugs widely available and "disgusting" amounts of rubbish lying around.

Prison staff walked out last month over conditions at the prison Credit: PA

They blame the problems on a chronic lack of investment over many years as well as the loss of a large number of experienced staff.

They say while there have been considerable attempts to improve the prison progress has been too slow.

Last month a report on Bedford Jail by the Chief Inspector of Prisons sparked a mass walk out of prison staff across England and Wales.

That report said there is a "dangerous lack of control" at the facility.

"What we are seeing is the challenge of managing a prison that is past its sell by date.

"Staff have left in droves over the past few years and although they have now been replaced you cannot just turn on the tap of experience."

– Kevin Whiteside, chair of the IMB