Prisons in the press – 9 March

Drugs seized 30 times a day and a murder suspect released by mistake

Credit: Guillermo Ruiz, Flickr


Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.


Hot off the press

Strangeways prison staff say rooftop protestor was right on lockdowns. Manchester prison officers reveal they shared concerns about conditions at HMP Manchester that led to a 60-hour rooftop protest by inmate Stuart Horner. The Guardian has the full story.


Revealed this week

  1. Drugs seized 30 times a day in prisons, according to new data. Chief inspector of prisons said there has been a “shocking worsening in standards”, with violence linked to drug usage. The Guardian has more.
  2. Boy locked in UK prison cell for over 23 hours a day. The High Court has agreed to a judicial review of the case of a teenage boy who is being locked in a cell in Feltham Prison in London for more than 23 hours a day. The BBC has the full story.
  3. Murder suspect released from high security prison by mistake. Michael Lawrence Smith, 38, was on remand in the high security Maghaberry Prison when he was mistakenly released on Tuesday. The Telegraph has the full story.
  4. Disturbing prison WhatsApp video shows inmate high on spice being forced to wash his hair in a toilet by laughing cellmates. The footage was filmed inside category C prison HMS Buckley Hall in Rochdale. The Sun has more.
  5. Prisoners at HMP Hull make nearly 20 complaints every week, figures reveal. A total of 858 grievances were registered by inmates at HMP Hull between January 1 and October 31 last year about facilities, food, staff and issues such as bullying. Hull Daily Mail has the full story.


Women in prison 

  1. Prison Reform Trust claim too many women are being sent to jail in International Women’s Day report. Scotland is still jailing too many women, especially for counter-productive short sentences, prison reformers have warned. The Herald has the full story.
  2. Eastwood Park women’s prison “under strain”. HM Inspectorate of Prisons, which visited Eastwood Park in November also noted an increase in violence and a rise in the number of self-inflicted deaths in 2016. The BBC has more.


In context

The Guardian reports Stuart Horner endangered his life to stage a protest after claims that his concerns about prolonged incarceration in cells and lack of staff were ignored.

Horner, who is serving life at the high-security male prison for the murder of his uncle, Ian Taylor, spent more than two nights on the roof, smashing glass panes and causing disruption.

The cost of the incident by the category A prisoner could be in excess of £1m. But Horner claims he was pushed into protesting due to prison conditions.

Manchester crown court heard staffing issues had led to prisoners being on “lockdown” regularly, which meant they could be confined to their cells for 23 hours a day.

The court heard from prison workers of all ranks who admitted there were staffing issues at the time of the protest.

Read the full Guardian report here.

Horner has since been sentenced to nine years for criminal damage and a 12-month concurrent sentence for affray.


In other news

The prisoners who train as Samaritans in jail. As part of a series of features the BBC looks at the work being done to reduce prison suicides where prisoners try to help fellow inmates deal with life in jail. Read more here.


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