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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 18:59 GMT
Prisoner's hunger strike enters fourth week
Woodhill Prison
Woodhill Prison houses dangerous prisoners
A prisoner is in the fourth week of a hunger strike over his treatment by jail authorities.

Chris Brand, who is serving life at Woodhill Prison near Milton Keynes for murdering a fellow inmate 21 years ago, says he is not receiving the psychiatric care he needs.

Nicki Rensten, from the Prisoners' Advice Service, has written to the prison governor and the Home Office about Mr Brand's plight.

Bob Mullen, governor of Woodhill Prison, said each prisoner is given one-to-one psychiatric help.

Britain's 'Alcatraz'

Woodhill Prison, which houses some of the country's most dangerous prisoners, has recently been refitted with carpets and other mod-cons on one wing.

It was branded Britain's "Alcatraz" when it was opened in 1998 to house violent and disruptive prisoners.

But a report into Woodhill by the Prison's Inspectorate in March 2000 criticised the conditions in which some prisoners were kept.

At the request of Mr Brand, Ms Rensten released details of his hunger protest.

She said on Tuesday that he had not eaten for 21 days.

Dirty protest

Mr Brand is also "angry and upset" because he believes he should be in a category B jail instead of top-security Woodhill.

Ms Rensten said: "He just feels all the legal processes are like banging his head against a brick wall."

Mr Mullen said he could not talk about individual prisoner's cases.

But he said: "We are trying to develop a regime where we can work with these prisoners that are dangerous and difficult.

"At some point they will be released into the community so it's crucial for public safety we are given the opportunity to work with these prisoners and address their violent behaviour."

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