HMP Isle of Wight’s annual report has shown an increase in violence and self-harm, with concerns raised about elderly and disabled prisoners.
There were 65 assaults on staff in 2018, a rise of 13.5 per cent on the previous year, and 656 incidences of self harm, an increase of 26 per cent.
98 per cent sex offenders
The prison has an average population of about 1,080, and more than 98 per cent of its prisoners are sex offenders.
Nine deaths occurred at the prison in 2018 and two were suspected self-inflicted.
Johnson: Plan to tackle self harm
Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), which produced the report, Linda Johnson, said:
“To improve the overall safety of residents with complex needs, a Challenge, Support and Intervention Plan (CSIP) was introduced towards the end of the year.
“This was urgently required as there was a significant increase of 26 per cent self harm incidents during 2018.”
Concern for elderly prisoners
More than half of the prisoners are over 50 years old, with 96 aged between 70 and 91.
Nearly half of the prisoners assessed have some form of disability. Concerns were raised regarding their mobility and access to services such as the library.
Ms Johnson said:
“The board continues to be concerned regarding the prison’s elderly and disabled residents, who are disadvantaged due to the age and structure of the establishment, together with the lack of funding for much needed alterations to provide an appropriate physical environment.”
Improvements being made
The IMB at HMP Isle of Wight also noted eight of areas of improvement.
These included increased equality meetings, improved communication with residents and development of one-to-one work with offenders.
Other complaints and concerns mentioned in the report included:
- Wing closures at weekends affecting to access for the gym.
- The lack of a toenail cutting service for elderly and disabled residents.
- The need for more meaningful employment for residents to help them learn skills.
- Complaints regarding hair products for BAME prisoners.
- The use of restraints on seriously ill residents.
- Availability of appropriate and professional mental health awareness training for staff.
- Concerns that residents with special needs are not identified.
- Access to the library for disabled prisoners.
- Laundry having to be washed at the wrong temperature or sent elsewhere due to lengthy laundry problems
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed