Inside the troubled Wandsworth jail the place a guard is accused of getting intercourse with inmate | EUROtoday

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Just two months in the past, inspectors warned that HMP Wandsworth was “crumbling, overcrowded, vermin-infested” – with inexperienced workers struggling to maintain tabs on greater than 1,500 inmates.

Charlie Taylor, the chief inspector of prisons, issued an pressing notification for the medium safety class B males’s jail, calling for intervention to reverse systemic and cultural failures which had brought about a “shocking decline”.

On Monday, Linda De Sousa Abreu appeared in court docket charged with misconduct in public workplace after footage emerged allegedly exhibiting a jail officer having intercourse with an inmate in a cell on the southwest London jail.

The 30-year-old jail officer, from Fulham, was charged following a Metropolitan Police investigation into the alleged video which was posted on social media.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor issued an urgent notification about HMP Wandsworth in May (PA)
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor issued an pressing notification about HMP Wandsworth in May (PA) (PA Media)

It is the newest in a string of scandals on the troubled jail, the place terror suspect Daniel Khalife allegedly escaped custody in 2023 – sparking a nationwide manhunt.

The 22-year-old former member of the Royal Signals is accused of strapping himself to the underside of a meals supply van in an escape bid. He was arrested 4 days later in Chiswick after he was pulled from a bicycle by a plain garments counterterrorism officer.

Khalife is as a result of stand trial on the Old Bailey in October after pleading not responsible to prices over his alleged escape, in addition to breaches of the Terrorism Act, Criminal Law Act, and Official Secrets Act.

Despite the alleged incident final yr, Mr Taylor famous there have been nonetheless “significant weaknesses” in safety measures at Wandsworth in a letter to the justice secretary on 8 May.

Daniel Khalife denies escaping from the Category B prison in southwest London
Daniel Khalife denies escaping from the Category B jail in southwest London (PA Average)

“Wings were chaotic and staff across most units were unable to confirm where all prisoners were during the working day,” he warned.

“There was no reliable roll that could assure leaders that all prisoners were accounted for.”

His pressing notification letter got here after Mr Taylor known as for Wandsworth, in-built 1851, and different crumbling, overcrowded Victorian prisons to be closed in The Independent final yr.

In his newest letter, he mentioned regardless of 10 self-inflicted deaths because the jail’s final inspection in September 2021 and hovering charges of self-harm, round 40% of emergency cell bells weren’t answered inside 5 minutes.

Almost seven in ten prisoners instructed inspectors they didn’t really feel secure and greater than half mentioned it was straightforward to get illicit medication within the jail, the place the odor of hashish was “ubiquitous”.

Charles Bronson among the more infamous inmates
Charles Bronson among the many extra notorious inmates (PA)

In the newest confirmed random drug take a look at outcomes, relationship from February 2024, 44 per cent of prisoners examined constructive.

The letter mentioned the jail was badly overcrowded with most prisoners locked up for over 22 hours a day.

“Living conditions were very poor, cells were cramped and ill-equipped, and the prison was still too dirty,” the pressing notification letter continued. “The fabric of the buildings and facilities including showers and heating still needed significant investment to bring them up to a decent standard.”

Mr Taylor additionally warned that inexperience throughout “every grade of operational staff” was hampering much-needed enchancment on the jail.

“Staff were not wilfully neglectful, they simply did not understand their role and they lacked direction, training, and consistent support from leaders,” he mentioned, including that there a level of despondency amongst prisoners he had by no means come throughout earlier than as an inspector.

He wrote: “For this troubled prison to begin to recover, Wandsworth needs permanent experienced leaders at all levels who are invested in the long-term future of the prison to improve security, safety and guide their less experienced colleagues.”

The authorities had 28 days to reply to Mr Taylor’s pressing notification warning, however the publication of their response has been delayed as a result of pre-election interval.