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Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
Prison overcrowding poses problems
Lincoln Prison
Lincoln Prison needs refurbishing
A critical report on prisons has prompted watchdogs to call for urgent action to improve conditions in jails across the East Midlands.

The Prison Reform Trust study rated Leicester Prison as the second-most overcrowded prison in England and Wales.

It is holding 366 prisoners in facilities intended for only 199.

The report said some prisoners at Ranby Jail in Nottinghamshire are forced to use the toilet in the presence of their cell mates.

'Degrading' practice

It described that practice as "degrading".

In Derbyshire, the Sudbury Open Prison is putting up a temporary building next year to house 40 prisoners.

This is an emergency measure that prison officials say is a result of overcrowding.

In Lincolnshire, the Board of Visitors at Lincoln Prison said overcrowding is affecting prisoners and staff, with one wing in desperate need of refurbishment.

The Lincoln board said prisoners are being locked in cells for too long.

The inaugural report from the Prison Reform Trust studied Boards of Visitors all over England and Wales.

It said the prison population is at an all-time high of more than 70,000.

The problems outlined in the report are said to be threatening safety and undermining the Prison Service's work to reduce re-offending.


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