The Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Liverpool shares HMIP’s assessment of conditions at HMP Liverpool. The Board has raised our concerns about the unacceptable standard of accommodation and facilities on a number of occasions, including writing directly to the previous Prisons Minister.
In our annual report for the year ending in December 2016, we highlighted the unacceptable living conditions for prisoners in cells with no electricity, no water and blocked toilets. In response to our report we were told that the issue was being taken seriously, that there was an improvement plan and that work was taking place to reduce the backlog of maintenance tasks.
In October 2017, as this clearly had not happened, we wrote to the Minister to again raise our concerns about the poor maintenance of the prison (the contractor Amey being 2000 jobs behind), the poor living conditions and their impact on both prisoners and staff. At this point, whole wings were without hot water, the majority of ovens and other kitchen equipment were awaiting repair or replacement and treatments for vermin were not being effectively carried out. While catering staff and prisoners struggled to provide meals for 1200 people, new kitchen equipment was standing unused, waiting to be installed. We requested urgent action.
There is now new leadership in the prison, and some remedial action has been taken. However, we have repeatedly raised serious concerns about facilities management at Liverpool, with huge backlogs of uncompleted tasks. Focus in the last week has been on the performance of Carillion, but the experience at Liverpool, with a different contractor, raises wider concerns about the management and outcomes of prison maintenance contracts.