Toilet concerns aired over HMP Bullwood Hall, Hockley

A prison watchdog has criticised the "Dickensian" sanitary arrangements at an Essex jail.

Built in the 1960s, HMP Bullwood Hall in Hockley holds about 240 male prisoners.

The prison's Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said nearly half the inmates faced waiting to use the toilet - a situation described as "inhumane".

The National Offender Management Service said issues highlighted in the report would be "robustly addressed".

In its report to the prisons minister, the IMB said while 132 prisoners had 24-hour toilet and washing facilities, 96 did not.

Those without en-suite facilities, the IMB said, had to register a toilet request by pressing a button in their cells.

The report said the night sanitation (night san) system was "degrading".

'Robustly addressed'

"The night san software is also subject to random crashes which disrupt the queuing system," the report said. "One of the regrettable consequences of these delays is that some prisoners throw human faeces out of their cell windows.

"This is a hazard both to prisoners and staff, especially those who deal with recycling prison waste."

Despite their concerns about sanitation, he said the professionalism of all staff at the prison was "excellent".

Paul Norton‐Ashley, chairman of the prison's IMB, said: "We have been highlighting this Dickensian sanitation system for years now. When is someone in central government going to take notice and take action?"

Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: "We are committed to running safe and decent prisons that support rehabilitation. The issues of concern identified by HM Chief Inspector are being robustly addressed by the governor."

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