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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 11:36 GMT
Jail 'needs urgent refurbishment'
Lewes Prison
Relationships between prisoners and staff were praised
Cells in a wing at an East Sussex jail have been described as "barely fit for habitation" following an inspection.

In one wing at Lewes Prison that needed urgent refurbishment, prisoners had to sit on the toilet to eat their meals.

A report released after an inspection of the jail last August said relationships between staff and prisoners were its greatest strength.

Phil Wheatley, director general of the Prison Service, said there were plans to improve accommodation at the jail.

Refurbishment plans

Inspectors found some weaknesses in anti-bullying and suicide prevention, but said vulnerable inmates felt safe.

"Overall, Lewes was a decent and safe prison, in spite of its physical limitations," Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said.

Mr Wheatley said a new wing would be opened in the spring.

He added: "Other planned refurbishment over the next 12 months will make a significant difference to the physical environment of the prison."

Mr Wheatley praised workers at the jail and their commitment to creating positive relationships between staff and prisoners.

He said: "Good relationships are essential in maintaining safety in the prison environment."

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