Nottingham Prison 'needs to tackle' drugs and violence

HMP Nottingham
Image caption One prison officer at HMP Nottingham had part of his ear bitten off in 2014

Persistent problems with violence including attacks on guards have not been solved at Nottingham Prison, according to a watchdog.

Chief prisons inspector Peter Clarke said the site had "suffered from a lack of continuity and consistency" and needed stable leadership.

Some progress had been made but more work was needed, his report said.

The National Offender Management Service (NOAS) said an experienced governor had been appointed.

The report said there were 229 assaults on staff and prisoners at the site in the past six months.

Many of the attacks were serious and some involved weapons, it added.

The Ministry of Justice said it was taking action to stop the violence.

'People slashed with blades'

Mr Clarke said five governors had been appointed at the prison in the space of four years.

He recommended the next governor has sufficient time in post to build upon the recent progress.

"We found … far too much violence and far too much use of drugs ... and a lack of consistency in the leadership of the prison," he wrote.

The report added too much force was still being used against inmates and some men were being "inappropriately" held in segregation units.

Some staff were "distant and somewhat dismissive" of inmates but more prisoners were being given time out of their cells, it added.

'Safer and decent'

Ian Carson, from the Prison Officers Association, said: "Violence is on the increase in Nottingham and I would expect much of the violence is down to drugs.

"People buy drugs in prison and can't pay their debts and violence is used. People are slashed with blades and limbs are broken."

An inspection last year said Nottingham Prison was not safe enough and conditions were poor.

A previous report in 2014 highlighted a number of violent incidents at the prison, including one inmate biting off part of a prison officer's ear and another prisoner trying to gouge his own eyes out.

Michael Spurr, from the NOAS, said an experienced governor had been appointed who was committed to making the prison "safer and more decent".

A prison service spokesman added: "We are investing £1.3bn to transform the prison estate over the next five years, to better support rehabilitation and tackle bullying, violence and drugs."

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