Norfolk

Safety being 'compromised' at HMP Norwich

Norwich Prison
Image caption The report said officers at HMP Norwich had become "exhausted" and demoralised"

Safety is being "compromised" at Norwich Prison because of a lack of staff, an annual report has said.

An Independent Monitoring Board review also raised concerns about food hygiene, a lack of cleaning materials and a rat infestation.

In June a prison officer was attacked with a bladed weapon at the jail.

"While progress remains to be made, HMP Norwich have addressed a number of concerns raised in the report," a Prison Service spokeswoman said.

The report said there had been no major improvements that had "directly improved impacted upon prisoner welfare", and highlighted "severe" staff shortages.

Officer had become "exhausted" and demoralised" but the report praised the diligence of management and the majority of staff.

In January 2017 there were 16 recorded prisoner-on prisoner assaults and seven on staff, but nearly half of all prisoners surveyed by the report's authors said they knew of assaults not recorded.

In a bid to tackle the problem, the prison had implemented a "Violence Reduction Project".

However, the report said: "Violence is better scrutinised as a consequence of the Violence Reduction Project but the project has not succeeded in one of the key aims - that of reducing violence."

The Prison Service spokeswoman said: "We are committed to transforming prisons into places of safety and reform and have announced a major overhaul of the prison system, including 2,500 extra frontline officers.

"We welcome the commitment of the prison to providing a range of good work and education opportunities, including The Britannia Cafe, which was also praised by the IMB."

Cafe Britannia is a social enterprise open to the public. The report said it provided "good work experience" for prisoners but "the absence of significant qualifications is regrettable".

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