Shocking pictures show blocked toilets, smashed windows and rubbish strewn everywhere in Liverpool prison where mental illness is rife and drones fly in drugs more than once a weekm
- Prisoners are using torn sheets to pass drugs from one cell to another
- HMP Liverpool in Walton on Merseyside has faced widespread disturbances
- Officials fear gangs are using drones to smuggle drugs over the prison’s walls
- Inspectors described conditions in the jail – which opened in 1855 – as ‘squalid’
Prisoners used ripped bedsheets to pass smuggled items between cells at a crisis-hit prison, a new report has revealed.
Inmates used the sheets to link cells from window to window at HMP Liverpool.
The audacious tactic was revealed in a new report, published today, offering further insight into the chaos within the jail throughout 2017.
Prison inspectors have blasted the conditions inside HMP Liverpool, pictured
The prison was built in 1855 and has been plagued with rats and flooded with illegal drugs
Inspectors found blocked toilets in the cells as well as unsanitary conditions
An earlier damning report highlighted shocking conditions found by watchdog inspectors during a visit last year.
The prison in Walton, Liverpool, was found to be plagued by rats, flooded with illicit drugs and housed inmates in ‘squalid’ conditions labelled some of the worst inspectors had ever seen.
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Rising violence left prisoners living in fear while drones attempting to drop contraband over the walls were so common more than one device a week was recovered by staff.
Since that inspection, carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, a new regime has been installed at the prison and efforts to improve conditions have begun.
Windows in the Victorian jail are regularly broken while drones are used for delivering drugs
Today, another report – this time by a local watchdog called the Independent Monitoring Board – re-iterated the problems in Walton during 2017.
It also offered further insight into life behind bars throughout that period.
The report said: ‘Prisoners… rip sheets up and hang them out of the windows to transfer illicit items to other cells. These often are left hanging out of the windows or get caught in the razor wire.’
The rat infestation was so bad that pest control were conducting fortnightly visits and the report found: ‘The condition of many cells during the reporting period was unacceptable: in many of the nine wings there were cells with no electrics, blocked toilets, no running water, broken windows and smashed water basins.’
Rubbish was found dumped across the prison encouraging rats to infest the building
The inspectors said the prison had difficulties in dealing with inmates with mental health problems which are made worse by the lack of suitably qualified staff
Showers in the gym did not work, the football pitch was unusable and the amount of drugs, including psychoactive substances like Spice, and mobile phones also caused concern.
Another significant problem was the prison’s ability to deal with inmates who with mental health issues.
The IMB said: ‘Mental health teams within prisons reported an excessively high workload which had to be managed with inadequate levels of frequently overworked staff.
‘It is suggested that urgent research needs to be carried out to identify the numbers of prisoners who suffer from mental health in order that proper provision may be made for their treatment and care.
‘Levels of violence in HMP Liverpool have risen in recent times. Amongst the reasons for this, it seems clear that mental illness and severe personality disorders, which may include diagnosable mental illness, figures significantly. These prisoners put staff and other prisoners at risk.’
The IMB called for consideration to be given to increasing the national provision of secure psychiatric beds within the prison network.
It also asked for details to deal with ‘unacceptable living conditions in the prison’, managing the maintenance contract with AMEY after raising concerns over delays to repairs, and ensuring ‘the effective prosecution of prisoners involved in violence to other prisoners and staff’.
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