South London’s HMP Wandsworth is one of the most overcrowded prisons in the country, filled with many men suffering from drug or mental health problems, says new report published today.
HM chief inspector Peter Clarke said that at the time of inspecting the Victorian-era prison in February and March 2018, 36% of the 1,428 men were receiving psychosocial help for substance misuse problems and 450 referrals were made to the mental health team each month.
The inspectorate noted that over 40% of prisoners were locked in their cells during the day as there were only enough full-time activity places for a third of prisoners.
“There were too many prisoners, many with drug-related or mental health issues, and with not enough to do. This is of course an all too familiar story, but it must not be forgotten that more than 100 prisoners every month were being released into the community. How much better could their prospects, and those of the communities into which they were released, have been if their time in prison had been spent in more decent conditions?” said Mr Clarke.
On a positive note, the inspectorate honored hardworking staff by saying: ““It was quite clear that there was a very real determination on the part of many dedicated staff at Wandsworth to make positive progress at this well-known and important prison. The influx of new staff is a real opportunity, and it is vital that the governor should be fully supported both from within the prison and by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) more broadly as she embarks on what she describes as ‘the long journey’ of improvement at the establishment.”
To read the report in full click here