Prison Plagued By Violence Installs 'Extremely Popular' Photobooth For Prisoners

A report called the prison "adequate if inconsistent".

A prison that has been plagued by outbreaks of violence has installed a photo booth so inmates can take pictures with family members.

The “extremely popular” installation, part of a trial at the privately-run HMP Lowdham Grange, has been praised in an inspection report on the Nottinghamshire prison.

The prison’s operator, Serco, said the photo booth was introduced in March last year in an attempt to help families and children have a more positive experience of visiting their fathers.

Used more than 2,200 times, the firm said the move was “extremely popular and plans to install more at its other prisons.

The inspection, which took place in August, also found the number of violent incidents was high for this type of prison, with 64 assaults on staff and 83 on prisoners in the last six months. Most of the violence related to trading drugs.

There were 30 incidents involving weapons, some of which had resulted in puncture wounds and being taken to hospital.

The prison was struck by three separate outbreaks of violence last summer and faced accusations of staff assaulting prisoners.

Lowdham Grange holds up to 920 adult men and opened in 1998.

The report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons also said that Lowdham Grange introduced a “violence hotline”.

The service allows inmates to report concerns about violent or anti-social behaviour.

HMIP described the measure as an example of “good practice”.

Chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke said: “Our findings at Lowdham Grange were adequate if inconsistent.”

Michael Spurr, chief executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, described Lowdham Grange as “challenging long-term prisoner population”.

Mark Hanson, Serco contract director at Lowdham Grange, said: “We are pleased that this report highlights a number of areas of progress, good practice and innovation in the prison, particularly our new violence reduction programme.

“However, we know we have much more to do to address all the recommendations in the report and embed the improvements that we been making in recent months and we are working on these as a matter of urgency.”

Last month, the Government announced plans that will allow thousands more inmates in England and Wales to make phone calls from their cells.

Ministers highlighted the importance of allowing prisoners to get in touch more often with their families.

David Goddard via Getty Images

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