Damning prison report: Prisoners go without showers for months

By Tony Hudson

Two disabled inmates of Winchester prison were forced to go without showers for months, according to a damning inspection report released today.

The state of the prison as reported by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons has been described by a prison reform charity as "exceptionally disturbing".

The inspection found two disabled prisoners sharing a single-person cell for all but 30 minutes a day. Additionally, the landing bathroom was not adapted for their use so they were unable to shower for months.

The Howard League for Penal Reform's chief executive said this was perhaps the most shocking case from the report which found numerous examples of neglect and abuse.

"This is a prison where the people it held didn't feel safe and the vulnerable were abused, where drugs were easily available but laundry facilities were not," she said.

Frances Crook condemned the state of the prison, saying it was a shame to see an institution with such a previously good record experience such a colossal collapse in standards.

Overcrowding was a leading factor in Crook's assessment of the prison's decline, as Winchester prison currently holds 706 prisoners despite only having adequate room for 499.

"The damning report into this overcrowded and dangerous prison is yet another symptom of our overstretched and wasteful justice system," she added.

The report found there was graffiti throughout the prison, a lot of it featuring sexual imagery.

Ninty-five percent of the inmate population had trouble getting onto rehabilitation programmes which could help them leave a life of crime.