Hereford & Worcester

HMP Hewell: Report says prison 'not fit for 21st Century'

HMP Hewell sign Image copyright Google
Image caption Drug use at HMP Hewell is widespread and inmates have easy access to mobile phones, a report says

A prison has been told it is not "providing a service fit for the 21st Century" for inmates or staff.

The "poor environment" at HMP Hewell, near Redditch in Worcestershire, is highlighted in the Independent Monitoring Board's (IMB) annual report.

Drug use is widespread, inmates have access to mobile phones and prisoners with disabilities are not catered for properly, the report said.

The Prisons Service said it was renovating facilities at the prison.

The installation of drone netting was welcomed, however, after an inmate was convicted for being the ring-leader in a prison drugs drone operation worth more than £500,000.

The annual report - for the period between October 2017 and September 2018 - said the inconsistent implementation of rules "allows a justified view by prisoners that they are sometimes treated unfairly".

It also found prisoners with disabilities were "inadequately catered for" and the access to illicit drugs and mobile phones "exacerbates the challenge of dealing with a largely transient prison population".

It said violence "remains an issue and has risen again towards the end of the reporting period".

Incidents of violence at HMP Hewell

Note: Figures for 2018 only go up to September so are shown separately for comparison
Source: Independent Monitoring Board

Monitoring board chairman Roger Lawrence said: "The board recognises some areas of improvement since its last report but we remain disappointed that HMP Hewell does still not, in our view, provide a service fit for the 21st Century.

"The transient nature of much of the population at HMP Hewell presents barriers to meaningful rehabilitation."

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Media captionA gang led by HMP Hewell inmate Lee Anslow flew drugs into prisons

The board noted improvements including the installation of the drone netting, the start of a window replacement and refurbishment programme and "a determination on the part of most staff to make HMP Hewell a safe and secure environment".

The category B jail opened in 2008 and holds more than 1,200 inmates.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "At HMP Hewell we are renovating existing facilities as well as upgrading security netting, cell windows, toilet and showering facilities - whiles working to identify more ways to improve the prison environment."

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