Kent

Kent's HMP Elmley: Concerns remain at 'greatly improved'

HMP Elmley
Image caption Some CCTV footage showed the use of "excessive force" used on prisoners, the report said

A prison where three inmates died from self-inflicted injuries in one year has "greatly improved" - but overcrowding remains an issue, a report says.

Inspectors found reduced levels of violence and self-harm at HMP Elmley on Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

However, they described overcrowding as "unacceptably poor" and said some staff used excessive force.

There were three self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection but none in 2015, the report said.

An HM Inspectorate of Prisons inspection in June of that year highlighted staff shortages and overcrowding.

'Excessive force'

The latest report describes inmates in overcrowded cells, with some using toilets screened by a shower curtain.

It also said some "serious" incidents, including the use of batons, had not been investigated and some CCTV footage showed the use of "excessive force".

Inspectors also called for more work to address the behaviour of sex offenders on long sentences.

Positive findings included a "significant reduction" of serious incidents, well-managed security and "very good" mental health services.

Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons Martin Lomas said HMP Elmley had made "impressive progress" against national trends to reduce "violence, self-harm and the availability of legal highs".

The Category B prison held 1,160 men at the time of the latest inspection in October and November 2015.

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