Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons has condemned HMP Hindley near Wigan one of the worst, and possibly the very worst, that inspectors had ever seen in this type of prison.
The Inspectors during a visit in July found that the length of time for which young adults and adults alike were locked up was, in our considered view, unnecessary, unjustifiable and counterproductive.
Almost every aspect of prison life for the prisoners was adversely affected by the regime. Prisoners were not getting to education and training in anything like the numbers that they should.
Whilst on one day during the inspection a mere 14% of eligible prisoners were able to attend education. As a result they were being denied opportunities to embark on a path of rehabilitation and eventual resettlement. The fact that the outcomes were good when prisoners did manage to get to education showed that an opportunity was being wasted.
The levels of violence in Hindley, often fuelled by the destructive effects of drugs – particularly new psychoactive substances (NPS) – were not likely to be controlled or minimised by the regime that was currently in place.The Inspectors concluded that it was far easier to get hold of drugs in Hindley than it was to get clean clothes, sheets or books from the library.
“This is a very poor inspection report, but could easily have been even worse. If it were not for some positive things that were happening, mainly in the non-residential parts of the prison, and energetic leadership being given by the new governor, it would have been hard to justify not awarding the lowest possible grades in all four of our healthy prison tests.” says the report, adding
“There needs to be an honest appraisal of the culture that predominates among some staff in these areas. Inspectors were disappointed to be told things by some members of staff that were at variance with the very clear evidence before us”