A report this week has criticised HMP Risley for the levels and frequency of force being used by prison staff against inmates there.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke, carried out an unannounced visit between 13-24 June 2016. It was found that whilst levels of violence in the prison were generally comparable to other Category C prisons there had been an increase in use of force against inmates during the first half of 2016.
The Chief Inspector criticised this rise. He stated that supervision of, and accountability for, the use of force were poor and it could not be established that this increase was justified.
The use of force had been documented over 200 times in the previous six months, This was four times the number at the last inspection and double the number at similar prisons.
The report also criticised the prison, stating that many use of force records were missing and, for the 23 occasions where batons were drawn by prison staff, the documentation on file was too limited to justify whether this was always justified. The worry of course is that the real figures for the use of force maybe much higher.
The report recommends that managers at HMP Risley ensure all staff complete necessary records accurately and comprehensively following every use of force and that all baton incidents are fully investigated to ensure proportionality. This is little more than a reminder of what should be done. The concern is that the use of force has increased so dramatically and adds HMP Risley to the growing number of prisons which seem to be at breaking point.
We welcome the recommendation of the Chief Inspector. If prison staff produced comprehensive and accurate records regarding the use of force then this would assist in reviewing such incidents, enabling staff to recognise what force is justified and assisting inmates in ensuring there is accountability when force used against them is not justified.
Our Actions Against Police department has vast experience of pursuing claims against prisons arising from unlawful and unjustified use of force against inmates. If you know somebody in HMP Risley, or any other prison, who has had force used against them by prison staff, please contact our expert Actions Against Police solicitors in Liverpool and Manchester. Call the team today on 0333 321 4580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read the whole HMP Risley report here - http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/11/HMP-Risley-Web-2016.pdf