An inmate at an Oxfordshire jail is suing the Prison Service after he cut himself falling from the top bunk in his cell.
The inmate hurt himself falling from his bunk in November 2005
The prisoner at Bullingdon near Bicester, told prisoners' magazine, Inside Time, bunk beds were "an accident waiting to happen".
He suggested inmates should not be compelled to sleep on the top bunk.
The Prison Service said it was trying to meet the needs of prisoners who felt unsafe sleeping on the top bunk.
A spokesman said: "Prisoners who sleep in bunk beds have been advised for some time on how to use them safely and are encouraged to report any concerns to prison staff."
He said meeting the needs of prisoners who do not wish to sleep on the top bunks would "not always be possible due to constraints imposed by population pressures and health and safety concerns".
The spokesman said rail guards could be used as ligature points by prisoners trying to commit suicide.
In his letter to Inside Time, the prisoner writes: "In November 2005, I turned over in my sleep and fell from the top bunk of my bed sustaining a bad gash to the head."
He was now pursuing a claim for negligence, he said, adding that the governor had denied any liability.
Earlier this year it emerged that compensation payments to prisoners doubled from £2.19m in 2004-05 to £4m in 2005-06,