In Brief

Britain’s ten worst prisons

Mixed results for the £10m scheme designed to cut violence

The number of deaths in the ten worst prisons in England and Wales has increased year on year, despite a £10m government push to reduce violence.

The “10 Prisons Project” was announced in August 2018 by the then prisons minister, Rory Stewart, and aimed to tackle drugs, discipline and violence.

Prisoner deaths increased by 20% in the 11 months since the initiative was launched compared to the previous year, according to data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the charity Inquest.

Overall, prison violence has reached an all-time high in England and Wales, with the number of assaults rising 11% to a record high of 34,425 in the year to March, reports The Financial Times.

The UK prison system has come under intense scrutiny over issues such as violence, understaffing, drug use, crumbling infrastructure and overcrowding.

In July 2018 the then justice secretary, David Gauke, unveiled a £30m package designed to improve security in jails and provide funds for essential maintenance. 

The ten selected prisons shared a £10m pot of extra funding to improve security in their jails and upgrade the substandard living conditions - the “10 Prisons Project”.

Governors at the ten establishments were given hi-tech body scanners and sniffer dogs trained to detect new psychoactive substances.

But now the charity Inquest has condemned the scheme as a “fundamentally flawed vanity project”, saying it failed to create safer prisoners, despite creating a higher staff-to-inmate ratio in the problem prisons, reports The Guardian.

The MoJ released figures last week showing an overall 16% reduction in assaults and a 50% reduction in positive drug tests across the ten prisons.

But the number of assaults in both Wormwood Scrubs and Nottingham went up, and the number was unchanged in Hull.

Drug use fell by 84% at Lindholme and 78% at Wealstun, and Lindholme and Isis both had a 46% reduction in assaults. 

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer said: “I am encouraged by the results of this bold project to turn around some of our most difficult prisons, which have seen drops in both violence and drug use.”

Here’s a full list of the prisons designated the most trouble:

Leeds

Hull

Humber

Lindholme

Moorland

Wealstun

Nottingham

Ranby

Isis

Wormwood Scrubs 

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