Inspection at “terrible” Ranby Prison sheds light on overcrowding, assaults and suicides

Ranby Prison in Retford
Ranby Prison in Retford

“Not enough progress” has been made to made to tackle overcrowding and the high number of assaults and suicides at Ranby Prison, according to a new report.

Inspectors visited the Retford prison in August and September last year and found that little had been done to tackle issues at the prison since the last inspection, which was “highly critical” 17 months earlier.

The inspection found that Ranby was “overwhelmed and overcrowded”, with the number of assaults including serious assaults on both prisoners and staff much higher than at similar prisons.

Six people had died by suicide in Ranby since the last inspection. The death of another prisoner is currently being treated as manslaughter.

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This is a terrible report on Ranby prison, which comes only 17 months after the last one and follows a long line of critical inspections of jails across England and Wales.

“The Prime Minister has recognised that prisons are failing and that wholesale reform is needed. Action cannot come too soon as conditions are getting worse by the day and, in prisons such as Ranby, people are dying as a result.”

The report also found that Ranby was also trying to combat a surge in the availability of new psychoactive substances.

More than half of prisoners told inspectors that it was easy to get drugs, and 15 per cent said that they had developed a problem with drugs in the prison.

MP for Bassetlaw, John Mann, said: “This report highlights the problems that I have been concerned about and raised with Minister and the Prison Service for several years.

“The report makes clear that low staffing levels are putting both prisoners and staff at risk.*

“Until the Prison Service and Government provide more funding and support to HMP Ranby, these problems will remain.”