Wormwood Scrubs ‘dangerous for inmates and officers’

  • 6 December 2017
  • From the section London

Wormwood ScrubsImage copyright PA
Image caption Poor conditions and a staff shortage were other issues highlighted in the new report

Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London is dangerous for inmates and prison officers alike, a report has found.

The jail sees 40 to 50 violent incidents per month, according to the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

The Prison Officers Association (POA) said staff shortages mean outnumbered officers are vulnerable to assault.

The Prison Service said improvements do need to be made but that it has begun tackling some problems with body cameras and drug sniffer dogs.

Wormwood Scrubs is a Category B prison with about 1,200 inmates.

Rob Foreman, Chair of IMB Wormwood Scrubs, said: “We all pay for the prisons, as taxpayers, so these reports are the only way people can see what is going on inside them.”

He added that the prison is grappling with a staff shortage with only 21 of the 57 officers who left their posts in the last year replaced.

The new report follows findings from 2016 that the prison was ‘rat-infested and overcrowded’.

Poor conditions and little support for prisoners being released were other issues highlighted in the new report.

Prison officer Dave Todd, who represents Wormwood Scrubs for the POA, said there are sometimes just two officers overseeing 200 prisoners at the jail.

He added: “It’s difficult to get across to the public how tough it is to tell prisoners to do things.

“We are outnumbered, they may resort to violence. You are genuinely concerned for your safety.”

The Prison Service said Wormwood Scrubs had made “significant progress” but that there is still “more to do.”

It added that a recruitment campaign is under way to boost staff as part of a £100m bid to hire 2,500 extra prison officers across the country.

A spokesman for Carillion, which maintains the building, said it has brought in extra staff and resources to deal with the “issues” at Wormwood Scrubs.

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