An inspection at Her Majesty's Prison Guys Marsh in Dorset has found assaults on staff have more than tripled since 2014.
The damning report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons found failings 'in almost every area' of the prison including high and rising levels of violence, easy access to illegal drugs and prisoners isolating themselves for their own safety.
It comes just weeks after a prisoner set his clothes alight on the roof causing a large fire on the roof of the prison.
The report released this morning details the sorry state of the prison during an inspection in December last year.
The findings included:
- high and rising levels of violence with assaults on staff having tripled since the last inspection in 2014
- prisoners seeking sanctuary or isolating themselves to get away from serious violence
- assaults on prisoners had increased by about two thirds
- violence directly linked to the use of illegal drugs
- violence linked to high levels of debt among prisoners
- 74% of prisoners thought illegal drugs were easily accessible
- nearly a quarter said they had acquired a drug problem in the prison
- the drug Spice was widely available
- three prisoners had taken their own lives since the last inspection
- higher levels of self-harm than at other similar prisons
- the prison was overcrowded - designed to accommodate 518 men but actually holding 543
- communal areas and accommodation in poor condition
- prisoners frustrated at a lack of basic amenities like bedding
- a failure by staff to address prisoners' poor behaviour and set effective boundaries for prisoners
- 30% of prisoners not engaged in work, training or education despite sufficient provision
- staff shortages undermining work to help offenders progress
- despite a high risk population about half of prisoners did not have current risk assessments
Although inspectors did find prisoners felt respected by staff and were allowed the right amount of time outside their cells, they said the state of the prison was 'very disappointing'.
And - despite the appointment of a new governor - inspectors this time found the prison had only carried out a third of their recommended improvements.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons acknowledged the difficulties of maintaining the prison because of its remote location and stretched staff resources but said far too little had been done to address its concerns.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:
Michael Spurr - the CEO of Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service - said action was being taken to improve the prison: