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02 November 2021

PRT comment: HMP Hull

Commenting on the findings of today’s (2 November) report on conditions at HMP Hull by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“At the very start of the pandemic, the government took a secret decision to accelerate the rollout of ‘PAVA’ spray—a chemical incapacitant weapon—to all closed adult male prisons. When challenged in court, the prison service gave repeated undertakings about the central scrutiny that would be applied to make sure that PAVA was properly used. But yet again, the inspectorate have found that PAVA has been used without justification and that local safeguards are not working. PAVA use has been unnecessary, disproportionate and unsafe, and it’s taken the independent inspectorate to notice.

“The prison service is not in control of the weapon it’s put into officers’ hands. The rollout has to stop, and PAVA must be withdrawn from the prisons where the standards promised just aren’t being met.”