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Slopping out continues at Surrey jail decades after ban, inspectors find

PRISONERS at a Surrey prison are having to use buckets as toilets in their cells because of “unacceptable” sanitation standards, inspectors reported today.

The stench is so bad that some inmates at HMP Coldingley are choosing to dispose of their excrement by throwing it out of the window.

It marks a return to the days of “slopping out,” a practice which was meant to have been outlawed in 1996 after an insurrection at Strangeways prison in Manchester.

Now inspectors are warning that it continues to be the norm for inmates on five blocks at Coldingley jail, where there are no flushing toilets in their cells.

Instead prisoners have to ring a bell to get the attention of staff and queue to use bathrooms on a landing.

Prisoners are allowed eight minutes to use the toilet and return to their cell.

But when the toilets are not available, they have to resort to using a “pot” in their cell which they must empty in the morning, the prison’s Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said.

The report said the board was “appalled” at the problem which it branded “degrading and totally unsatisfactory”, adding: “The lack of in-cell sanitation is unacceptable in 2019 and requires urgent action.”

IMB chairwoman Heather Cook said: “The lavatories and sluices fall a long way short of acceptable standards, with frequent blockages and broken doors.

“The fact that prisoners have to queue to use the facilities at night inevitably means that ‘slopping out’ is still a feature of prison life.”

The report added: “Inevitably, some prisoners dispose of human waste via cell windows.”

Former justice secretary David Gauke promised extra funds for the prison so work could be carried out to address the long-standing problem, but the refurbishment is yet to take place, the board said.

It is not the first time HMP Coldingley has been criticised for “slopping out” since the ban.

In 2010, Nigel Newcomen, then deputy chief inspector of prisons, said: “Older wings still had the wholly unacceptable and degrading night sanitation system, which frequently led to the issue of potties and the throwing of human waste out of windows.

“Even at a time of cutbacks, replacement of this system needs to be prioritised.”


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