An inspection at HMP Manchester,formerly known as Strangeways, has revealed that conditions have deteriorated over the past four years.

Her Majesties Inspectorate of Prisons found that levels of violence were significant, had increased since the last inspection and were now comparable to similar prisons.

In the preceding six months there had been 177 assaults, 45 of them on staff, a threefold increase since their previous visit. Two-thirds of prisoners indicated that they had felt unsafe during their time at Manchester, and a third stated they felt unsafe at the time of inspection while nearly two-thirds said that they had been victimised by other prisoners and over half felt victimised by staff.

Inspectors found that the use of force was increasing in the prison and was now also comparable to levels in similar prisons but the quality of scrutiny had not, however, kept pace with the increase.

Monitoring of segregation usage was, in contrast, better, with plans to improve the case management of some prolonged-stay prisoners. The regime for those segregated, however, was very limited and environmental conditions required improvement.

HMP Manchester was last inspected in 2014, then the prison that was ensuring reasonably good outcomes against all healthy prison tests.

This inspection, however, was disappointing in that our assessments indicated deterioration in all these tests, except for rehabilitation and release planning.

Fewer new prisoners were now arriving as the prison prepared for its transition to a training function but, despite this, reception arrangements took too long and lacked rigour in the assessment of risk.

There had been eight self-inflicted deaths, three of which had occurred in the six months leading up to our inspection. Self-harm had increased since our last inspection and, in keeping with other indicators, was now comparable to similar prisons.

At the time of the unannounced inspection in June of this year, there were 940 inmates.


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