High level of violent incidents and impact of New Psychoactive Substances made 2016 a very challenging year at Leeds Prison, IMB reports

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at HMP Leeds has today published its report for 2016, raising concerns about the high level of violence and instances of self-harm despite the commendable efforts of officers.

During 2016, the Prison operated at or close to its Operational Capacity of 1218 prisoners.   In common with many prisons, there were sustained levels of violent incidents at Leeds, including self-harm, with an average of 46 “violent incidents” a month and 4 self-inflicted deaths in custody during 2016.  The damaging impact of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) was a factor as was the need to accommodate disruptive prisoners transferred in following unrest in other prisons.

The 11 unpaid Members of the IMB visited all areas of the prison during the year to monitor the day-to-day life of prisoners and to ensure that appropriate standards of care and decency were maintained.   The Annual Report highlights a number of concerns including the number of prison officers but also commends the efforts made by them to discharge their duties under difficult circumstances and welcomes the planned increase in their numbers.   In other areas the IMB raised particular concerns about:

  • The unsatisfactory and unacceptable shortages of basic commodity items, such as towels and toilet rolls at various times through the year.
  • The capacity of Mental Health support and services both in the Prison and externally.
  • The quality and availability of meaningful rehabilitative activity in the Workshops.

The IMB seeks to highlight the vital and highly valuable part played in the Prison by a wide range of national and local voluntary organisations in addition to the wide range of services provided for prisoners by national and local Government organisations.

The IMB will be running a recruitment exercise later in the year seeking further volunteers who live within a 20 mile radius of the prison.

A copy of the full report is available at: www.imb.org.uk/reports/