Although prisons are not known for their luxurious amenities, a new report shows that inmates at a “substandard” prison in the U.K. find it is easier to gain accesses to drugs rather than necessities like clothing and clean shower facilities. The report on HMP Bedford, which is ran by Her Majesty's Prison Service, details the findings made by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in May. The report found the use of illegal substances, unsanitary conditions, damaged furniture and more, BBC reported Tuesday.
The prison was inspected more than two years ago, but just 12 of the 72 recommendations for improvement have been addressed, and four were partially achieved. The most recent inspection in May found the psychoactive substance Spice was in heavy use at HMP Bedford and its presence was having a “serious impact” on safety in the prison.
In his report, Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke detailed the prison conditions. "The stark reality is that prisoners told us it was easier to get illegal drugs in the prison than it was to get clothes or sheets," he wrote.
During the time of the inspection, the prison housed a little fewer than 500 male inmates. “As in so many other prisons, it is quite clear that the ready availability of drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances (NPS) was having a serious impact on the safety of the prison. Despite this, there was no effective drug supply reduction strategy in place,” Clarke stated.
HMP Bedford insisted that there is a plan in place to address the drug use and other harsh living condition in the prison. "Safety in prisons is fundamental to the proper functioning of our justice system and a vital part of our reform plans," a spokeswoman said. "There are a number of factors, including the availability of psychoactive substances, that must be tackled. We are rolling out mandatory nationwide testing of synthetic drugs, which will help to end the flow of these dangerous drugs into our prisons."
The prison plans to partner with the Secretary of State to make sure reforms are carried out thoroughly. Further announcements concerning the betterment of the prison are expected to be made this autumn.