A damning report into a South Staffordshire prison today revealed high levels of violence, evidence of criminals abusing drugs and alcohol and hundreds of sex offenders due for release without having their behaviour properly addressed.
HMP Oakwood, in Featherstone, has even been dubbed ‘Jokewood’ in prison circles because of its reputation, while inmates told inspectors that it was easier to get their hands on drugs while inside the jail than soap.
The chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick said the £150 million jail must urgently improve and said the results of the surprise inspection were ‘very concerning’.
It is the third report in the past two months to criticise the prison, which has 1,600 inmates and is operated by private firm G4S.
The surprise inspection found levels of violence are high, with inspectors having no confidence in the quality of recorded data or the arrangements to reduce violence there.
They found levels of self harm were also high and processes to support those in crisis not good enough.
“It also warned the prison to urgently address its approach to its near 300 sex offenders, many of whom were due for release without their offending having been addressed.
The report on the jail, which is the biggest in the country, said: “Staff-prisoner relationships were not respectful and very worrying.
“Many staff were passive and compliant, almost to the point of collusion, in an attempt to avoid confrontation, and there was clear evidence of staff failing to tackle delinquency or abusive behaviour.”
Bosses at Oakwood said they had already taken steps to make improvements.