839 days of confinement for Preston prisoners

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Inmates were confined to their cells for hundreds of days over just three months for breaking rules at Preston Prison, according to Ministry of Justice data.

The Howard League for Penal Reform say punishing inmates with confinement contributes to worsening conditions in prison.

HMP Preston

HMP Preston

Preston inmates committed 443 proven offences between July and September, of which 173 resulted in the culprit being confined to a cell.

The offending prisoners received 839 days of confinement - the equivalent of more than two years between them.

HM Prison and Probation Service guidance states that adult prisoners can be confined to their cells for up to 21 days for a single offence, with young offenders getting up to 10 days.

Prisoners at Preston were most likely to be confined in their cells for non-violent offences, with 153 incidents over the three-month period.

Of these, 41 were for disobeying a direct order or breaking prison rules, for which the offenders spent a total of 143 days locked in their cells.

There were 37 incidents of inmates being disrespectful or verbally abusive, accounting for 186 days in confinement.

Long periods of cell confinement can cause the mental and physical health of prisoners to deteriorate, according to HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

An HM Prison Service spokesman said: “It is right that governors who know their prisons best have the freedom to decide how to deal with those who break the rules.”

A review of disciplinary processes was underway, he added.