Reform Prison HMP Wandsworth still engaged in a constant struggle to maintain basic standards with inadequate staffing levels and poorly maintained, outdated infrastructure

The Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Wandsworth publishes its 2016/17 annual report today, 1st September, 2017.

HMP Wandsworth, designated a Reform prison in 2016, was once again unable to provide a consistently safe, decent and humane environment for its 1600 prisoners. A strong management team and hard-pressed officers and support staff did their best in very difficult circumstances but the continuing severe staff shortages affected almost every aspect of prison life. Regime disruptions and shutdowns occurred throughout the year and prisoners were locked up for excessive periods. This resulted in severely restricted access to existing, as well as innovative Reform-related, education and purposeful activity, both vital to the process of rehabilitating offenders and preventing recidivism.


The works provider, Carillion, failed to provide a timely repairs and maintenance service, which had major implications for the running of the prison. Unrepaired cells remained out of use (sometimes for months) and there were delays in the replacement of broken windows, cell door observation panels, in-cell equipment and furniture, essential kitchen equipment and closed circuit TV cameras.


Violence, both prisoner on prisoner and prisoner on officer, was high. The Board believes this was due to the highly restricted regime which resulted in increased time spent locked up in, for the most part shared, cells with a consequent rise in prisoner frustration and boredom. Drugs, including New Psychoactive Substances, were still prevalent in the prison and added to the violence although drone activity as a means of delivery effectively ceased in the autumn.


The Board was concerned by the high vacancy levels in the two Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) sub contractors Penrose and St Mungo’s which meant that their efficacy in providing vital rehabilitation opportunities for the men was severely compromised.


Healthcare facilities continued to be substandard and the Addison mental health unit was unfit for purpose. For the fourth year running the report highlighted the delays in transferring severely mentally ill prisoners to secure psychiatric hospitals and the Board was disappointed by the lack of substantive Ministerial action on this point.


  • Read the report in full here.