Bristol

Bristol Prison: Throwing items over jail wall 'deeply disturbing'

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Media captionSecret filming of prison throwovers is captured

Footage of people throwing items into a prison where a fifth of inmates have a drugs habit have been described by a minister as "deeply disturbing".

BBC Inside Out West set up cameras in the garden of a house neighbouring Bristol Prison and twice caught a man throwing in packages.

A former inmate said drugs and phones were often thrown over the prison wall.

Justice secretary Robert Buckland said Bristol Prison would see a staffing increase of a third.

A report from the chief inspector of prisons, released last week, said many inmates developed a drug habit while in the prison.

It said half the inmates said it was "very easy" (36%) or "quite easy" (14%) to get hold of illicit drugs in the jail.

Broken CCTV cameras

Mr Buckland said: "It is always deeply disturbing to see people resort to that sort of criminality.

"The good news is that in one of those incidents the item was found and seized.

"The fact that you are focusing on it, the fact that we are talking openly about it, I think is good. I think the public needs to know this.

"We are now increasing staffing levels. For example, in Bristol, staffing levels have gone up by a third in the past two years."

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Image caption Over half of prisoners said drugs were easy to get inside HMP Bristol

Inside Out West found some of the prison's own CCTV cameras on the walls outside the facility were broken. Mr Buckland said they would be repaired.

"That's one of the items on our list to fix, to get the CCTV sorted," he said.

"I think this has really focused minds and attention. We need to make progress as quickly as possible in Bristol."

Eleanor Ager, the chair of the prison's independent monitoring board, said the video of the package being thrown into the prison "shows how easy it is".

She said the incidents created an "unhealthy... black market" inside the prison.

"You're going to create an unhealthy environment for rehabilitation," she said.

You can see more on this story on Inside Out on BBC One West at 7.30pm on Monday.

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