11/12/2012 09:48 GMT

Lincoln Prison Overcrowded, Dirty And Full Of Drugs And Alcohol, Report Finds

A prison more holding 50% more inmates than it was meant to has been found to have among the "worst" drug and alcohol abuse, bullying and overcrowding ever seen by inspectors - just over a week after the Ministry of Justice decided not to close it.

Serious failings were found in the report into Lincoln Prison from Her Majesty's Inspectorate Of Prisons. There was a "clear evidence" of prisoners becoming drug addicts, and of "segregation" with black and minority ethnic prisoners being seperated from their fellow inmates, and even abused by staff.

"In our survey black and minority ethnic prisoners were significantly more negative than the prison population as a whole. These prisoners told us that some staff used inappropriate language in their dealings with them," the report found.

Andrew Neilson, the Howard League for Penal Reform’s Director of Campaigns, said the report was an example of the "terrible" effects of overcrowding in prison.

lincoln prison

The prison was found to have among the "worst" drug and alcohol abuse ever seen by inspectors

The report was published just over a week after the Ministry of Justice decided to save the category B jail, after concern 500 jobs would go if it were to close.

One inmate also had even been in prison for nine years after his sentence finished as he awaited deportation.

The report found that cannabis and opiates were coming into the prison, and there was even evidence inmates were making their own alcohol, called hooch.

Some areas of the prison "did not appear to have been cleaned for some time", the report added.

The Howard League's Neilson said: "The damning inspectorate report is among the worst we have seen.

"This cramped and dirty prison holds 50 per cent more people than it’s meant to, with 20 per cent fewer staff in post than there were three years ago. Its shocking levels of violence and bullying are a symptom of this.

"Half of prisoners at Lincoln are unemployed and will spend no more than three hours a day outside of their cell, while, despite new facilities, education and training is minimal. Inspectors even found a foreign national prisoner, who had been held nine years beyond the end of his sentence.

"Lincoln’s future has been hanging in the balance and this report does little to suggest the prison should remain open. As Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons said in October, the government faces a clear choice: increase prison budgets or cut the prison population."

Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons said: "HMP Lincoln has some strengths it can build on.

"However, this was undermined by a serious lack of professionalism in many areas that compromised safety and the smooth running of the prison.

"Some of this required further investigation and action by the Prison Service nationally."