September 22nd, 2016

Redditch families fear for prisoners inside Hewell

Redditch families fear for prisoners inside Hewell Redditch families fear for prisoners inside Hewell
Updated: 8:59 am, May 13, 2016

FAMILY members of inmates in HMP Hewell Prison are growing increasingly concerned for the safety of their loved ones because of the amount of weapons, drugs and violence they say is ‘rife’ throughout the jail.

The mother of one of the prisoners said her son was too worried to leave his cell as when he enters the courtyard, there is a fight in every corner.

“He said the amount of hard drugs in there is worse than what you see on the streets.

“No one expects prison to be a holiday camp of course but he said he would not wish it on anyone. He went out into the yard and saw a fight in every corner. The only safe place for him is to stay in his cell.”

She also said her son had told her the officers tend to stay away.

The jail’s last inspection took place in 2014 and the report said no real improvements had been made since its last assessment in 2012.

When the Standard spoke to the Howard League for Penal Reform they said they would not be surprised to find drugs and weapons still rife in Hewell after the outcome of the inspection.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “When inspectors last visited Hewell two years ago, they found a dirty, dangerous and drug-ridden prison.”

And it would appear Hewell is following a national trend with overcrowding in the cells and issue with under staffing causing an increase in violence.

The Ministry of Justice’s own data shows 11 officers at the Redditch jail have been subjected to serious assaults.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Every day, our brave and dedicated prison staff work hard to protect the public and help offenders turn their lives around on release.

“We have measures in place to tackle violence but we are clear that more needs to done.

“That is why we are investing £1.3billion to transform the prison estate over the next five years, to better support rehabilitation and tackle bullying, violence and drugs.”