Friday, July 10, 1998 Published at 20:26 GMT 21:26 UK
Paralysed prisoner to sue
The jail was also involved in previous shackling contraversy
A half-paralysed female inmate who was handcuffed for 13 days during hospital treatment has been given legal aid to sue the prison service.
Linda Wright, 49, says the restraint amounted to assault.
She was already suffering from multiple sclerosis and found it difficult to walk when the stroke left her paralysed down her left side.
Prisons Minister Joyce Quin has promised a full inquiry. She said: "If a mistake was made, then I will not defend it."
She was placed in an ordinary ward alongside other patients but remained under the guard of one, and sometimes two warders.
A woman in the next bed, who was not a prisoner, said that nurses objected to the way she was treated but were told by prison officers it was not their concern.
The prisoner was eventually kept in chains for 13 days and intends to sue the authorities.
Wright was convicted of drug smuggling last year after returning from holiday in Venezuela with her brother who had £250,000 worth of cocaine in his suitcase.
She is now taking her conviction to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Newsnight was told by the Prison Service that a rigorous risk assessment had taken place before the shackling took place.
But Chris Tchaikovsky, from the Women in Prisons organisation, called for a change in the Home Office guidelines.
She said these ran contrary to the United Nations minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners.
Ms Tchaikovsky called for Home Secretary Jack Straw - who in opposition described the practice as appalling and inhuman - to change the policy.
She refused to comment fully on the case until she had found out all the facts.
The programme also heard from Ms Quin's predecessor Ann Widdicombe who in government was severely criticised by Labour when it emerged that pregnant women were being shackled in hospital.
But she cited one case in recent prison history where a prisoner who was diagnosed as totally paralysed had escaped from hospital when left alone.
She added: "I'm not saying that this would have happened in this case, I'm just saying that sometimes there is more to these assessments than you or I can know about."