The Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Birmingham believe that the prison is making early progress following the takeover of the prison by HMPPS in facing up to significant challenges.
Their report for the period July 2017 – June 2018 highlights and, in some cases restates from previous reports, the concerns that have led to HMPPS installing their own experienced governor to manage the prison.
Throughout the year it was a regular occurrence to find examples of:
- men held in a cell for at least twenty hours a day
- two men to a cell with unscreened toilets, eating meals whilst seated on a bed
- men in cells with faulty cell bells
- men in cells with no water, or no hot water
- men in cells with exposed electrical sockets
However the prison, which is considered by many to be the most violent and challenging in the Country, is turning a corner and shows early signs of improvement in conditions for prisoners and staff. The reduction in prison population and additional staff are making a difference. The challenge is to maintain the improvements.
IMB Chair, Roger Swindells said:
“We have monitored a prison in crisis for the last 18 months and have described many incidents that have caused great concern. We felt the need to write to the Prisons Minister in May 2018 to register our concerns over many failings.
We observed G4S respond with limited success, to HMPPS and IMB criticisms in the early part of 2018, but not at sufficient speed, such that their improvements came too late.
Since August we have seen a “step in” by HMPPS to take over the running of the prison and are now seeing early signals that outcomes for prisoners are improving in terms of cleanliness, safety, security activity and the provision of an acceptable daily regime.”
Read the report in full here.