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Violence rate soars at Wigan's prison

Steve Douglas, of the Prison Officers Association, outside Hindley Prison
Steve Douglas, of the Prison Officers Association, outside Hindley Prison

A wave of violence has swept through Hindley prison with inmate assaults increasing significantly year-on-year.


Prison officers are blaming the legal system for wrongly categorising prisoners, saying that violent offenders are being sent to the rehabilitation centre when they should be in a punitive institution

Related: Everything you need to know about prison categories

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice have revealed a huge increase in the rate of prisoner on prisoner assaults from 2016/17.

During this period there was a rate of 455.4 assaults per 1,000 inmates, however by 2017/18 this had shot up to 507.5.

Steve Douglas branch chairman of the Prison Officers Association said that the lack of resources and incorrect categorisation of criminals is putting prisoners and staff at risk.

“It is a constant battle,” he said. “Category C prisoners are causing the majority of the problems. Prisoners coming in are being classed as less serious than they should be. These prisoners are just not interested in rehabilitation.

“My belief, and especially in the case of Hindley, is that these prisoners are getting early release and then failing it and being brought back to this prison.

“They should not be coming back to a rehabilitation regime because they do not want to rehabilitate.

“They have no standards of authority. Even the police are struggling to arrest them and they certainly have no respect for any prison officer.”

Mr Douglas also blamed “bullying” over contraband for the prison’s violence problem.

“There’s that much bullying going on over drugs and mobile phones,” he said. “It’s rife because you can’t stop it from coming in. The Government has said there is technology coming in to tackle drones but we haven’t seen any of it here. We don’t need it in six months or a year we need it now.”

Despite the sharp rise in prisoner on prisoner violence, the rate of attacks on officers has dropped by 12.7 per cent in the past year.

Mr Douglas added that the prison had managed to get a grip on assaults towards its staff but maintained that “one assault is one too many”.