Tuesday, March 9, 1999 Published at 03:51 GMT
Lessons not learnt at 'dreadful' jail
Conditions at Chelmsford remain "unacceptably bad"
Mangement at Chelmsford jail have been criticised by the Chief Inspector of Prisons for failing to learn the lessons of an inmate's violent death.
The jail, in Essex, was also criticised for the "unacceptably bad" conditions of cleanliness, which included:
'Wholly inadequate healthcare'
He said health care for the mentally ill was "wholly inadequate" and the visiting area did not provide a good environment for families.
The failure of staff to answer call bells was severely criticised in the official inquiry into the murder of Mr Edwards in November 1994.
Mr Edwards, a 30-year-old remand prisoner who was also mentally ill, was battered to death by Richard Linford. He was so badly beaten his body had to be identified by his dental records.
Sir David said inspectors tested the bells on three separate occasions during their tour of the prison's induction wing.
Although the system was working, staff failed to respond.
'Staff were ashamed'
He said: "There can be absolutely no excuse for this, and I am staggered that, in view of what has happened, and of which staff allegedly were ashamed, it should still be the case."
He said he would inspect the jail again in a year's time to see what progress had been made.
Richard Tilt, director general of the Prison Service, said strict instructions had been issued to staff about the importance of responding to call bells. Prisoners had also been warned about the dangers of abusing the system.
'Action being taken'
He said a new reception area was due to be completed later this year which would address the concerns raised in the report.
Mr Tilt said: "A new call bell system is currently being installed which will greatly improve monitoring and reduce the potential for abuse."
Mr Edwards' solicitor, Philip Leach, said: "What happened to Mr Edwards should never ever have happened to anyone.
"We are taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again."