Life at Wandsworth Prison - rats, broken toilets and a lack of hot food and water for inmates

  • Tap above to watch video report by Kaf Okpattah

An investigation by ITV News London has uncovered filthy conditions at Wandsworth Prison, including rats, broken toilets and a lack of hot food and water for inmates.

A whistleblower also revealed how some prisoners were unable to leave their cells for 24 hours.

And a visitor spoke of how they spent time with their relative and came out with stories of worry and concern.

“They get banged up for about 24 hours-a-day. Don’t get no social, no gym,” said visitor Jenny [not her real name].

She asked to remain anonymous out of fear it might otherwise subject her relative to bullying.

"I was asking about his wellbeing and he turned round and said to me that he had no hot food for bout two months and no hot water."

The complaints come after a prison inspection last year found a whole range of problems with conditions at Wandsworth - from broken benches to mouldy walls and cells in disrepair.

Inside a cell at Wandsworth Prison Credit: Ministry of Justice

One serving officer said: “It’s dirty, it’s gritty, you’ve got rats all over the place. The upkeep isn’t really there.”

According to the whistleblower things have gone from bad to worse.

“I’ve never seen a cleaning team anywhere,” he added and confirmed inmates were used as cleaning staff.

And it’s not just the cleanliness of the living space that’s left the guard concerned but also how some of his colleagues are treating prisoners.

The officer added: “There’s a place in the prison called The Seg where if a prisoner misbehaves or is acting violently they get taken down to The Seg where they are locked up practically 24/7.

“They may get ten minutes out of their cell.”

Ministry of Justice rules state inmates must have at least 30 minutes of outdoor exercise and socialising.

Failure to adhere to this could be a breach for inmates’ human rights.

“There are certain basic conditions which are a requirement of the law,” said human rights lawyer David Wagner.

“If you go below that requirement it can be inhumane and degrading treatment,” he explained.

The Ministry of Justice said conditions at Wandsworth have significantly improved, adding there are new windows, a repaired roof and a new health care unit.

But it seems those changes have done little to improve the life of inmates.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...