Negative Bedford prison report

Nacro comments on inadequate state of Bedford prison brought to light by the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report


Nacro comments on the report by the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons concerning the inadequate state of Bedford prison.

The report was based on an inspection by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in Autumn 2023. The inspection was so troubling that the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice in November to invoke an Urgent Notification about the state of the jail.

Bedford held prisoners in some of the worst conditions inspectors have seen. It was filthy, with broken furniture and windows. Some cells were damp and had problems with mould. There were infestations of rats and cockroaches throughout the jail.

The prison seeing high levels of violence and self harm with many inmates being locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day. Assaults of staff were among the highest in the country. Thirty percent of prisoners were released homeless, making reoffending more likely, as well as increasing the chances of mental health and substance misuse issues accruing.

Nacro chief executive, Campbell Robb, says: “The deplorable conditions at HMP Bedford shine a spotlight on a broken prison system. A system which takes already vulnerable people with complex lives and further traumatises them. What hope do people have of dealing with their issues and turning their lives around living in circumstances such as these?”

“The sad truth is that many prisons across the country are in the same unacceptable state as Bedford – something the chief inspector also recognises. Prison buildings are falling apart, there is chronic overcrowding and people are not getting the vital support they need to build their lives back. The Government needs to urgently address the crisis in prisons so they become a place of rehabilitation as well as punishment and in turn create a safer society for everyone.”