Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight prisoners' hour-long toilet queues 'unacceptable'

HMP Isle of Wight
Image caption The jail has suffered from a "lack of support" from the Prison Service, inspectors said

Inmates at HMP Isle of Wight face "unacceptable" waits of more than an hour to use the toilet at night, a report has said.

Many prisoners at the jail also struggled to complete their toilet visits within the allotted seven minutes, the Prisons Inspectorate said.

It said the Prison Service had failed to support the jail and to ensure "basic standards of decency".

The service claimed it had a "strong strategy... to drive up standards".

'Electronic queuing'

The inspectorate said up to five inmates at a time could visit toilets at the prison's Albany site, which houses about 500 prisoners.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said they used an electronic queuing system which could hold eight bookings at a time, preventing other inmates from joining the queue.

"The waiting time for these prisoners could be more than an hour," Mr Clarke's progress report said.

"Prisoners, including older and disabled people, were allowed seven minutes to use the facilities.

"We spoke to one prisoner who used a walking stick, who told us he had recently been locked out of the system because he had returned late. He [later] wet himself in his cell."

Image copyright Google
Image caption "Reasonable progress" is being made to tackle violence at the jail

The chief inspector said it was "not acceptable" that many inmates had to resort to using a bucket in their cell.

Previously the Prison Service rejected the inspectorate's call for cell toilets because of the "significant" cost.

Mr Clarke said the jail "lacked support" from the service, which had also rejected recommendations to ease overcrowding, to ensure sick prisoners were transferred to a mental health facility and to improve provision for remand prisoners.

In a statement, the Prison Service did not respond to the criticisms about toilets.

It said: "We have permanently reduced HMP Isle of Wight's population and... the prison has a strong strategy in place to reduce violence.

"We are confident these changes will continue to drive up standards."

HMP Isle of Wight is a category B prison which holds 1,000 inmates, mainly sex offenders, at sites at Albany and Parkhurst.

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