Cockroaches, filthy toilets, litter-strewn cells and electric wires hanging above shower cubicles – prisoners are living in “utterly appalling” squalor in UK jails.
That was the conclusion of a damning report from Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons, as he warned the violence plaguing UK jails will not end while inmates are held in such poor conditions.
Now, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has told HuffPost UK he will launch a review of private sector contracts for jail maintenance with a view to bringing them back in-house.
He said said British prisons were “approaching an emergency situation”, adding: “The outsourcing of facilities management, maintenance and repairs has had a predictable impact on services.
“When there are reports of prisoners remarking it is easier to get drugs than clothing, or when prisoners go for long periods without properly functioning showers, it does nothing to build institutional trust.”
He called for ministers to listen to the prison officers facing the “explosion” of violence on the frontline.
The private sector contracts for prison maintenance in England and Wales, worth around £500m, have so far failed to deliver the £115m savings promised. The Ministry of Justice entered into the five-year deals with Carillion and Geo Amey in 2014.
The prisons watchdog sounded the alarm on the contracts in August, with checks on fire equipment, CCTV and tests for legionella not being carried out while broken showers left unrepaired for months.
Prisoners have been using clothes to patch up broken windows, while rat infestations have been discovered in some jails
Burgon said: “In addition to ruling out any more private sector prisons, Labour will undertake a review, working with governors and others, to identify those private service contracts that can be brought back in-house over time that would both save the state money and at the same time …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK politics