HMP Wormwood Scrubs, described as in a ‘shameful condition’ in the early draft of a report on conditions there. This was later changed to a ‘poor condition’ [Image: Andrew Matthews/PA ].

HMP Wormwood Scrubs, described as in a ‘shameful condition’ in the early draft of a report on conditions there. This was later changed to a ‘poor condition’ [Image: Andrew Matthews/PA ].

The Prisons Inspectorate is unrealistically clinging to the claim that the introduction to this report has not been toned down but was made “shorter, sharper and more impactful.”

All we have to do is compare the original version with the final draft and we can see that isn’t the case.

So there’s a prima facie case to suggest someone has tampered with the information we’re seeing. For political reasons?

That leads us to ask: How does the Conservative Government propose to improve the situation, if it can’t even admit what’s wrong?

Shadow prisons minister Jo Stevens is quoted as follows: ““It is absolutely vital that HM Inspectorate of Prisons is able to produce reports with total independence free from any interference or influence.

“This shocking inspection report raises huge questions about the Ministry of Justice’s competence to address the worsening Tory prison crisis.”

This Writer met Ms Stevens on Sunday and I can tell you that I trust her comment more than that of the Prisons Inspectorate.

We’ve come to a pretty pass if we can’t have honesty from the Ministry of Justice!

A critical inspection report on the state of Britain’s most famous prison appears to have been toned down before publication, according to drafts seen by the Guardian.

The report on Wormwood Scrubs, released on Tuesday, includes a foreword by the new chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, who highlights the poor condition of the prison – outlining high levels of assaults, worsening safety records, suicides, easy access to drugs and even a rat problem.

But an earlier draft leaked to the Guardian, which was written by the previous chief inspector, Nick Hardwick, before he stepped down in January, contained much tougher language.

Hardwick announced in the first paragraph of his introduction that the prison remained in a “shameful condition”; Clarke’s version said it was in a “poor condition”.

The earlier version also reported that one in 10 prisoners at Wormwood Scrubs said they had been physically assaulted and that “too many prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm were held in the segregation unit without any explanation of the exceptional reasons required to justify it”. These details are absent from Clarke’s introduction.

In his concluding paragraph, Hardwick described meeting an 18-year-old who had for several months spent at least 22 hours a day in a cell with a broken window and a toilet that stank. The prisoner was also set to be homeless once released. “It was hard to identify anything that had happened in the prison that might improve the odds on him staying out of trouble when he left – and it was easy to see much that made them worse. There were many prisoners like him,” he wrote. “The prison stands as an object lesson in the need for radical reform.”

The published version reaches a dryer conclusion that notes: “Wormwood Scrubs is a prison that continues to fall short of expected standards.”

Source: Negative prison report was toned down, leaked draft suggests | Society | The Guardian

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