Damning report says Walton Prison is “unsafe”
“You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners”
So said Fyodor Dostoevsky. But there are still those who believe that once a person is sent to prison they should lose their human rights, not to mention their dignity.
Whilst many people may take the view that, ‘if you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime’, a recent report about HMP Liverpool may just make those people think again.
The official report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons followed an unannounced 11-day visit in May and found the prison to be “dirty, overcrowded and poorly equipped”, with a “worrying” three-fold increase in staff assaults.
The document went on to say that the prison, where there have been eleven recent deaths, has “deteriorated dramatically”, citing drug use and self-harm. It further stated that HMP Liverpool (otherwise known as ‘Walton Prison’) was not good enough in four specific areas:
- purposeful activity and
In the wake of this report, Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:
“This report makes grim reading. It tells of death, of violence, of men spending hours on end locked inside their cells, and of a lack of managerial oversight. These are the symptoms of a prison system that has been in meltdown. The government has indicated that it wants to embark on a major programme of prison reform. Today’s report highlights why this is so urgently needed.”
Our prisons house a vast array of individuals, including the most vulnerable members of society right through to the most dangerous.
Mental health problems, violent upbringing, no education, the list is endless as to factors that play a part in the commission of many offences. Like it or not, prisoners have rights too.
We echo the sentiments of Nelson Mandela who proclaimed:
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
The full report can be accessed here.
Matthew O’Neill is a member of The Association of Prison Lawyers and a solicitor at Linskills.
Linskills are a law firm that specialise in human rights and assist prisoners to resolve their difficulties in the quickest and most effective way possible. For a free consultation call 0800 0963 238 or send us a message.