An inmate at Bedford Prison caught and killed rats in his cell during an inspection
The chief inspector of prisons says standards at HMP Bedford have continued to decline despite two years of internal prison service efforts to improve it
The report described cells as "filthy and decrepit", and said toilets did not flush properly.
The scale of the violence, squalor and lack of control is set out in a report on the unannounced inspection in August and September 2018
Peter Clarke, chief inspector of prisons, found no credible plans by the prison or HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to address the prison's "dangerous shortcomings".
So troubling were the findings of an inspection in 2018 that Mr Clarke took the rare step of invoking the "urgent notification" protocol, requiring the Secretary of State for Justice to respond publicly with an improvement action plan.
Violent prisoners faced few effective sanctions, the report said, adding that use of force by staff, including baton use, had risen significantly and was "exceptionally high".
Pest control work had failed to eradicate significant rat infestation, one notice on a door said "Please ensure doors remain shut to prevent rats entering the wing!!!" Conditions in the segregation unit were described as "appalling"
Bedford was assessed as "poor" in the areas of safety, respect and purposeful activity and "not sufficiently good" in rehabilitation and release planning.