HMP Whatton healthcare facilities and accommodation wing 'remain unfit for purpose', reveals Independent Monitoring Board
An independent report into the standards of care and decency at HMP Whatton has been published.
The assessment, undertaken by the Independent Monitoring Board, found healthcare facilities at the prison remained unfit for purpose despite being flagged up in the last such report.
The continued poor conditions of a particular accommodation wing was also described as unfit for purpose despite assurances action would be taken.
The report stated, once again, urgent and serious consideration be given to the replacement of unfit healthcare facilities.
However, the provision of services by healthcare contractors Mitie had improved significantly over the past year.
HMP Whatton is a category C training prison for male prisoners convicted of sexual offences against adults and children. It would normally house 740 prisoners, while the operational capacity is 841.
Despite assurances from the prison's Minister that remedial action would be taken to address the poor and unfit conditions of Wing B, inspectors said they had not seen any progress or funding made available.
There were six deaths in custody during the reporting period and four inquests have been held.
The cause of death in all cases was recorded as natural causes and two inquests yet to be held.
The report said there were 16 assaults on staff by prisoners and 45 assaults between prisoners during the time, one of which was classified as serious.
"During the latter part of the year, the number of assaults on staff rose slightly, while the number of assaults on prisoners has experienced occasional peaks," it said.
"There has been a total of 284 self-harm incidents reported during the current reporting period.
"This is an increase from 223 in the previous reporting year."
The board noted a new key worker scheme had been fully implemented throughout the prison and achieved accreditation, with relationships between prisoners and staff seen to improve.
Although 28 additional staff were introduced for key working, the board had concerns key workers were not available when scheduled to interact with their allocated prisoners.
The board also said it was concerned with the organisation and management of prisoner property, with many complaints relating to property lost during transfers from other prisons.
Although it was a widely known issue across the prison estate, it said there was a failure to address the problem of lost property which often resulted in prisoner anger, frustration and substantial compensation.
In terms of prisoner release, the report said most inmates were well prepared but that some issues were ongoing, including the accommodation and employment on release of those with sexual offence convictions.
The report said: "There remains a shortage of category D places within the prison estate that will accept prisoners convicted of sexual offences.
"This results in prisoners being released directly from HMP Whatton (a category C prison).
"Once again, we have raised issues concerning the poor state of the pathways within the prison, and the health and safety issues associated with their maintenance.
"On several occasions, the prison has submitted bids for capital budgets to pay for these repairs, but each time the bid has been rejected.
"Will the Prison Service review their decisions not to fund the refurbishment of the pathways, taking into account the significant health and safety issues of not undertaking this work?"
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More by this authorAbigail Hunt