HMP Birmingham Inmates Left In 'Squalid' Cells
9 July 2019, 12:31 | Updated: 9 July 2019, 12:32
The chief inspector of prisons has said he would "never forget" the squalid conditions he witnessed when he visited Birmingham Prison.
Speaking to reporters as he published his annual report for 2018-19 - in which he raised concerns about inmate living conditions - Peter Clarke recalled the blood-stained shower he saw at the West Midlands prison, which was littered with rat droppings.
Birmingham had the worst examples of living conditions, his report said, with cells that were "dirty, cramped and overcrowded".
The report said of HMP Birmingham: "Some particularly vulnerable prisoners were living in squalid cells which were not fit for habitation.
"Rubbish was left lying around in bags and there were problems with fleas, cockroaches and rodents."
It said one prisoner lived in a "filthy flooded cell" and the blood of another - who had self-harmed two days earlier - had not been cleaned from the floor.
Other prisons were also criticised, including Bedford, Exeter and Chelmsford.
Described HMP Bedford, the report said: "The prison was struggling with infestations of insects and vermin.
"A sign on one wing read 'please ensure doors remain shut to prevent rats entering the wing'.
"Despite recently engaging professional pest control services, rats, pigeons and cockroaches were still everywhere."