Serious security concerns at the prison, where a terror suspect escaped by clinging to a food delivery truck, were reported last year after another inmate escaped from prison in 2019.
A nationwide manhunt is underway for former soldier Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, who escaped from HMP Wandsworth while wearing a chef’s uniform.
Khalife was remanded in custody after he was accused of planting fake bombs at a military base, and airports and ports have since been placed on high alert amid fears he was attempting to leave the country.
Concerns were raised last year about the security of the B prison there, following the escape of a prisoner five years ago.
A September 2021 inspection report for the south-west London prison, released last year, said a “serious breach of security” led to the previous escape.
Inspectors said they had been given “some reassurance” that steps had been taken to prevent further outbreaks.
However, they still noted “some concerns” about “physical aspects” of security.
The report stated: “A serious security breach had led to an escape in 2019; In response to the subsequent investigation, we were assured that measures had been taken to prevent further escape attempts.
“However, recent local security data revealed some concerns about the physical security aspects.”
Discussing the security measures, it added: “Although there had been some improvements in physical security measures to combat drug supply and mandatory drug testing had begun during inspection week, further staff training was required in key areas such as the gatehouse and post office space.” to ensure a consistent approach.”
The report also described the Victorian prison as “overcrowded”, “derelict” and “vermin infested”.
Violence mounted, the report said, while staff shortages prevented the prison from offering inmates “basic settlement”.
Inspectors said that despite a drop in population since the last inspection, it remained one of the most overcrowded prisons in England and Wales, with nearly three-quarters of prisoners being held in solitary cells.
Charlie Taylor, the UK Prime Minister’s chief inspector of prisons, also warned of plans to increase the number of prisoners held the following April.
Charlie Taylor, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: “The leaders of this run-down, overcrowded and vermin-infested prison will require significant ongoing support from the Prison Service, particularly in recruiting and retaining staff, improving prison infrastructure and infrastructure Improving the infrastructure of the prison.” Make sure that external agencies such as the Ministry of the Interior and the education provider play their part.
“It is difficult to see how HMP Wandsworth’s limited progress can be sustained if the number of prisoners at this prison is allowed to increase as planned for next April .”
There is more to come…