One in five inmates at Bedford Prison say they do not get to have a shower every day, say a national pressure group.
A new study by the Howard League for Penal Reform, looked at what percentage of prisoners have accessible to a daily shower.
Inmates at 119 prisons across England and Wales were surveyed over a four-year period.
And only 36 had a lower proportion of prisoners who had access to a daily shower.
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The government has said that it wants prisons to be clean and decent, but is ignoring the fact that thousands of children and adult men are smelly and dirty because they cannot get a shower. It’s no good cleaning up prisons if prisoners are not able to keep clean.
“If we want people to be to reintegrate to lead a good and useful life, people in prison must be at least able to have a shower every morning, eat breakfast and face the day with purpose. Squalor and idleness will not ready people to be law-abiding citizens on release.
“Bold action is needed to reduce the number of people behind bars and ease pressure on a prison system that is failing everyone.”
The figures come from prisoner surveys undertaken by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons during each prison’s most recent inspection.
The worst-ranked was Belmarsh, were only one in six prisoners said they could shower every day.