STAFF and prisoners have told inspectors drug use is endemic at Camp Hill.
Inspectors visited HMP Isle of Wight, made up of Albany, Camp Hill and Parkhurst, in October last year, shortly before the departure of governor Barry Greenberry, but their report was not published until today (Wednesday).
Despite improvements in safety at Parkhurst and Albany, government inspectors said Camp Hill appeared to have slipped off the radar of prison managers.
Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, said senior management had worked hard to achieve some success in tackling issues at the three prisons.
At Parkhurst there had been considerable improvements in levels of safety and decency coupled by some improvements at Albany.
"By contrast Camp Hill appears to have slipped off the managements radar and has deteriorated significantly in terms of safety and its core training function," said Mr Hardwick.
Camp Hill had an endemic problem with drugs according to staff and prisoners interviewed during the inspection.
At Albany the report highlighted on-going night sanitation problems on some wings, where the 'degrading' practice of slopping out was still in use.
Albany was praised for having some excellent offending behaviour programmes but overall there was not enough education, training and work to keep prisoners purposefully occupied across the three jails, according to the report.
Mr Hardwick said: "This inconsistent progress exemplifies the challenges facing HMP Isle of Wight: it is now a huge prison, with a large number of inherited weaknesses.
"Some of these have been addressed but many more remain. Moreover, the prison’s governor has recently resigned. This has left an enormous prison with a huge, unfinished agenda for change facing a difficult economic future under new leadership."
A replacement for Mr Greenberry, who left in October to join private firm Group 4, has yet to be found.
• Full story in the Friday, March 25, County Press.