HMP Hewell: Conditions 'worst inspector has seen'
Living conditions at a drugs-ridden prison have been described as "the worst I have seen" by an inspector.
Part of HMP Hewell, near Redditch, Worcestershire, was "squalid, demeaning and depressing," Peter Clarke of HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) said.
His said 70% of inmates claimed drugs were easy to obtain, with a quarter of inmates developing drug habits.
A new drug strategy, education and a safety plan will be introduced, the HM Prison and Probation Service said.
The unannounced inspection in June follows a previous visit in 2016 which revealed "far too high levels of violence"
HMP Hewell has two prison sites; a male category B prison holding 870 prisoners, and an open prison of about 200 prisoners.
The chief inspector said that living conditions at the open prison were "the worst I have seen in this type of establishment".
Dormitories were crowded and dirty and some bathroom facilities were filthy, he said.
At the closed facility, living conditions were also deemed "unnecessarily poor" and the "standard of cleaning was inadequate".
The rate of self-harm in the closed site had doubled since 2016 and there had been eight deaths in custody since then, the report said.
This was a "very worrying inspection" Mr Clarke concluded.
HMIP has set out a range of recommendations for the prison and will review its progress in the coming months.
Phil Copple, of HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), said concerns over living conditions would be addressed, while a new drug strategy, extra sniffer-dog patrols and increased searches would make the closed prison safer.
"A new education provider is now in place to better prepare all prisoners for release," he said.
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