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06 October 2010

Inspectorate report on Chelmsford prison

In response to the chief inspector of prisons’ report on HMP Chelmsford, Geoff Dobson, deputy director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

“This disappointing report paints a picture of a prison and a prison system that is struggling to keep its head above water.

“Chelmsford isn’t doing enough for its vulnerable prisoners, needs to improve staff and prisoner relations and provides prisoners with little opportunity to spend their time usefully. But as the report suggests, the problems facing Chelmsford and local prisons like it are the symptoms of an overcrowded system. With more and more prisoners, prison staff are being asked to cope with less and less resources.

“Given the three recent suicides at Chelmsford, it is troubling to hear of inadequate arrangements for vulnerable prisoners and serious deficiencies in self harm and suicide prevention arrangements. We hope these have been addressed since last summer’s inspection.”