Drug bag ban at jail
ONE of Britain’s most notorious jails has been branded “unfit”.
An investigation has shown Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London is in meltdown.
Prisoner Khader Saleh was stabbed to death on a wing at the jail in January.
Deborah Coles, inset below, who works to prevent state-related deaths as director of the charity Inquest, has warned the issue is now at crisis point.
She said: “We are really in a situation where deaths have become an endemic feature of the prison. You’re talking about very vulnerable prisoners held in awful conditions.
“And for many of them self-harm and suicide is the reality of their experience.”
The conditions at Wormwood Scrubs have been exposed by an investigation for Channel 5.
It found it was “not fit to serve as a modern prison”.
MP Andy Slaughter, who serves its constituency of Hammersmith, west London, said: “I am particularly concerned about the overall conditions there – infestations, broken windows, toilets that don’t work…conditions that are appalling for anybody to live in.”
He added: “I don’t think anybody would be happy with what you see in Wormwood Scrubs.”
Violence in prisons in England and Wales has hit record levels. Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults have spiked by 11% in a year while assaults on staff are up 23%.
Category B Wormwood Scrubs has housed criminals including Charles Bronson and Ian Brady.
Phil Taylor worked as Governor there between 2009 and 2013 and lived in fear of attack.
He said: “There are not many organisations where you go to work every day and you may be confronting somebody who’s attempting to kill themselves.
“You may be confronting somebody who’s armed and wants to harm you, or you may be confronting somebody who’s armed and wants to harm somebody else – and you have to get yourself in between them. It’s a day when you could influence people in terms of life and death.”
Phil also saw up close how vulnerable prisoners are at the jail.
He added: “When somebody takes their life in your care you feel as if you’re personally responsible. “It’s not something you ever get used to. It’s not something you ever take lightly.” Lord Ramsbotham, Chief Inspector of Prisons for six years, was convinced violence was a major issue at the jail.
He said of his time in charge: “We were very disturbed because there were lots of reports of bullying in the segregation unit. But we couldn’t get to the bottom of it. Everyone was covering it up. There was clearly a climate of fear.” A PRISON has banned Primark paper carrier bags because they were being sprayed with the “zombie” drug Spice.
A tip-off from a con led to the crackdown on the elaborate smuggling method at Risley jail in Warrington, Cheshire.
A source said: “Primark bags are used to package socks and underwear for inmates.
“They are brought in by visitors and handed to prisoners without raising any security concerns.
“It appears many were sprayed with Spice and were being cut up and put inside cigarettes.
“The problems with Spice in the jail reached epidemic proportions.”
Officers at the Category C jail, which can hold up to 1,095 inmates, seized a number of Primark carriers which tested positive for Spice.
Our source added: “It takes a thumbnail-sized piece to make a Spice cigarette.
“One carrier bag can provide hundreds of hits and the jail was awash with the drug.”
At Risley, an A4 size piece of Spice soaked paper is worth £500. It is estimated a soaked Primark carrier was worth at least £2,000.
■ PRESSURE: The prison in London and, right, victim Khader Saleh