Bedford Prison ‘overcrowded’ says report following unannounced inspection

Bedford Prison.
Bedford Prison.

A report following an unannounced inspection of Bedford Prison has criticised the jail for ‘overcrowding’.

The study, by by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons carried out early this year and just published also censured the penal institution for its standard of cells.

In the report, Bedford Prison, dating back to 1801, was described as having ”significant overcrowding and most accommodation was old and tired. Most cells designed for one accommodated two and were cramped.”

It also said: “In-cell toilets were inadequately screened, were dirty and lacked privacy. Some cells had mould and damp damage on the ceiling due to poor ventilation, and the exercise yard was an austere cage.”

The report noted ‘certified normal accommodation’ as 322, with the number of prisoners held listed at 495 but ‘operational capacity’ recorded as 506.

A HM Prison Service spokesperson said: “Additional places are being identified at a number of sites to provide reserve prison capacity. It is responsible to ensure they are available. Any additional capacity will be certified by a senior operational manager as safe and decent to use.”

Nick Hardwick HM Chief Inspector of Prisons added: “Bedford is a fundamentally well-run prison that is both safe and respectful.”