AFTER fears were raised about increased violence in British prisons, the Ministry of Justice has said overcrowding is not an issue at HMP Isle of Wight.
Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick said staff shortages and over crowded jails were leading to problems of violence, self-harm and suicide.
However, a Ministry of Justice spokesman told the County Press
, the Island’s prison, made up of Albany and Parkhurst, was not overcrowded.
He said there were 1,132 prisoners at HMP Isle of Wight, which had an operational capacity of 1,139. Its certified normal accommodation, however — considered by groups such as the Prison Reform Trust as the most suitable number of prisoners — is 1,056.
IW Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) chair Rosemary Montero said she was not aware of any significant overcrowding issues on the Island but said there was some confusion about the timing of a recruitment campaign.
"It has rather puzzled us all about why there are vacancies, following the closure of Camp Hill. It seems like it was ill thought out by the government," she told the County Press.
The MoJ said: "We always have enough staff to run safe and secure prisons and have taken sensible and proportionate measures to manage the recent increase in the prison population — including a nationwide recruitment campaign.
"We are also establishing a national pool of experienced reserve staff."