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Outsourced services blamed for prison issues

16 October 2017

Failure of FM service providers to deliver acceptable standards has been highlighted in a report from chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke as contributing to rising violence and suicides within UK prisons.

Contracts with Carillion and Geo Amey were named in the Huffington Post news item as failing to deliver promised savings of £115m.

Worth around £500m, the five-year details include the Geo Amey transportation services deal and Carillion's contract for maintenance.

Labour Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has said he will now launch a review of private sector contracts for jail maintenance, according to the Huffington Post.

The aim of Mr Burgon's review is to investigate the option of establishing in-house services, after stating it was easier for prisoners "to get drugs than clothing".

According to the prison watchdog announcement in August, essential tests for legionella and checks on fire and CCTV equipment are not being carried out.

Broken showers and windows have also been ignored, with prisoners using clothing to patch up the latter, with rat infestations also reported in some prison facilities.

Further concerns were also raised by Mr Clarke's report, including prisoners having to eat meals while sitting on toilets.

This is a contravention of food hygiene guidance, said the report.

Mr Clarke has said the poor state of the UK's prisons is the reason for numbers of assaults, self-harm incidents and suicides reaching record high numbers last year.

"In addition to ruling out any more private sector prisons, Labour will undertake a review, working with governors and others, to identify those private service contracts that can be brought back in-house over time that would both save the state money and at the same time improve prison conditions," said Mr Burgon.

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