Birmingham’s Winson Green prison is one of the most overcrowded in the country, new figures revealed today.
Across the nation almost 20,000 prisoners had to share single cells during 2012-13.
A further 777 people were made to sleep three to a cell, when the cells are designed to accommodate only two, the Howard League for Penal Reform has said.
Government prison population announcements mask the full extent of overcrowding because they do not state how many cells are holding more than they are designed to.
The figures come as it was revealed building work was not finished at a jail near Wolverhampton when it opened, and inmates did not have toilet paper for the first few days.
The worst over crowded prison in England and Wales was Wandsworth where, on a typical day, 835 prisoners were forced to share cells with an open toilet, the Howard League said.
Other overcrowded prisons were Altcourse, Doncaster, Pentonville, Preston, Manchester, Elmley, Nottingham and Durham.
Frances Crook, Howard League chief executive, said: “It should come as little surprise that such crowded conditions leave staff hugely overstretched, especially as more are being laid off.
“This means there are little-to-no opportunities for prisoners to work, learn or take courses to turn them away from crime.
“If the Ministry of Justice is serious about reducing reoffending it must tackle overcrowding now.”
Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said: “All prisons have safe population levels and have capacity to take those sent there by the courts.”
Meanwhile a report today revealed HMP Oakwood’s builders and contractors Kier are still returning to the purpose-built titan jail to sort out ‘deficiencies’ in its original design.