‘Resign’ call made to prison governor

Hindley Prison
Hindley Prison

Jail campaigners have called on Hindley Prison governor Mark Livingston to step down after a torrid 12 months for the Bickershaw establishment.

An online petition has been drafted on the change.org website, urging Mr Livingston to consider his position.

Penal reformer Ray Neil and supporters have demanded his resignation - though only 138 people have backed up demands to oust him so far.

Last November prisoners insisted it was easier to get hold of illegal drugs than clean clothing and bedsheets at Hindley.

The claims emerged during an unannounced inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, which found several serious failings.

Inmates were said to be regularly locked up in their cells for 24 hours at a time.

And levels of violence and self-harm were both found to be higher than average, according to a report released after their visit.

Mr Neil has cited the death of 17-year-old Jake Hardy, on the website, as one of the triggers for his petition.

The teenager was found hanging from the bars of his cell while serving a sentence for affray and assault there in January 2012.

Jurors at an inquest into his death the following year ruled that Jake, who had complained of being bullied, was not offered enough support by prison officers.

Outlining his case, Mr Neil said: “Mark Livingston should be dismissed from his post to ensure no further tragedies occur.

“It is not just the squandering of taxpayers money at stake here, but also the lives of those that would be held in custody under his ‘care’.”

In January there was also a mass protest outside Hindley by penal reformers, highlighting what they claimed was the poor treatment of inmates.

Mr Neil has also previously lobbied for the removal of Peter Francis, a former governor at Hindley Prison who went on to work at HMP Liverpool.

Mr Francis was removed from his post at the former Walton Prison in October, after another snap inspection is said to have found squalid conditions for prisoners, including the presence of cockroaches, filthy toilets and damp-ridden walls.

The Ministry of Justice refused to comment on the Hindley petition.

But the government department has claimed life is improving at Hindley. Prison chiefs heralded a series of seizures of drugs and contraband mobile phones in July.

This was followed up though by figures, released the same month, which showed the number of assaults and self-harm incidents at Hindley had rocketed year-on-year.

Earlier this year the head of the Prison Service also postponed the conversion of Hindley into a so-called super prison, by confirming no further construction projects would take place until at least 2022.