Holloway criticised by prisons watchdog

The prisons watchdog is today warning that Holloway women’s prison is suffering from “fundamental problems”.

In a damning report, chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers found that hygiene standards at the 550-inmate prison were severely lacking.

Areas of the buildings were infested with mice, dead insects littered the corridors and prisoners were smuggling in bleach to keep their cells clean, she reported.

In some instances, inmates were even using sanitary towels to plug gaps underneath doors in order to keep the mice out.

On other issues, the inspection report found that none of the staff working with children and young adults had been subject to the required Criminal Bureau checks.

It also revealed that 48 per cent of inmates felt unsafe, 36 per cent had been insulted or assaulted by other inmates and almost one in three prisoners claimed to have been victimised by prison staff.

Ms Owers said that while some improvements had been implemented since the last inspection in 2002, not enough progress had been made.

“Holloway undoubtedly progressed since the last inspection, but not to the extent that managers had hoped and we had expected,” she said.

“The previous management team have tackled some of the problems with enthusiasm, but aspects of the underlying culture remained unaddressed.”