The jail from which terror suspect Daniel Abed Khalife escaped “really needs closing ultimately”, the chief inspector of prisons has stated.
Speaking to Sky News’ Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge, Charlie Taylor stated there was a “crisis” in massive establishments like Wandsworth jail in south London because of an absence of locations and employees, and the “churn” of inmates “adds to the general complications and sometimes what feels like chaos”.
His remarks come because the manhunt continues for 21-year-old Khalife, who broke out of the Category B jail by holding on to straps beneath a meals truck.
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There have nonetheless been no confirmed sightings of the previous soldier and police have stated it’s attainable he has already left the nation – although greater than 150 counterterrorism officers and employees are focusing their search efforts within the Kingston and Staffordshire areas.
The incident quickly become a political row, with Labour attacking the federal government for an absence of funding into public companies – a scorching subject in Westminster following the concrete disaster in colleges.
But ministers have accused the opposition of taking part in politics, and promised to open formal inquiries into the escape.
Mr Taylor – who’s appointed by the justice secretary to examine prisons in each England and Wales – stated the state of affairs with Khalife was “enormously concerning”.
“When you find a prison like Wandsworth, it really needs closing ultimately, it is not a suitable prison,” he informed Politics Hub.
“In an ideal world one would [close it], but of course you need jails because you need to service the courts.
“We’ve truly acquired a disaster for the time being in prisons simply when it comes to inhabitants and locations, so there are solely simply sufficient jail locations obtainable for the time being for the variety of prisoners who’re coming in, however in fact that places an enormous pressure on the system.”
Speaking particularly about Wandsworth, the chief inspector added: “You are getting people in, you are getting them to court, you are getting them back from court and then as soon as they’ve been sentenced, they are being moved on to another jail as quickly as possible.
“And it’s one thing about that churn that additionally provides to the final problems and generally what seems like chaos in a few of these large native prisons like Wandsworth.”
Mr Taylor also pointed to issues around staffing levels at the prison, which he said had been a “large concern” in recent inspections – with 30% of employees unavailable for full duties.
He claimed it led to a “hazard of dropping management”, adding: “If you have not acquired sufficient employees to get the fundamentals proper, there’s at all times a hazard that individuals will drop the ball and make a mistake.
“if there aren’t enough staff in place – and that is something we flag up a lot – things just can begin to go a bit wrong.”
The chief inspector additionally claimed Wandsworth, which was constructed 170 years in the past, was in a “real state” and wasn’t designed to carry “nearly as many men who are locked up there as there are now”.
He added: “The issue is these people are coming out one day and the idea that you are rehabilitating people by banging them up behind a door for 22 hours a day is simply fanciful.”
Mr Taylor appealed to the federal government to look into funding to enhance prisons – though he accepted it might not be the primary precedence for the general public.
“If you ask people if they would like more money spent on the NHS or on schools or on roads, or money to be spent on prisons, I think it is fairly obvious what the answer would be,” he added. “People don’t like prisoners so much and they are frightened of crime.
“[But] if we wish folks to return out from jail and to cease offending, then we have to do extra for them when they’re locked up, which suggests giving them the talents they want, it means placing them on the proper type of programmes, it means getting them into the great habits of labor so after they come out they do not create extra victims, they do not trigger bother of their communities they usually take their place again in society as exhausting working tax working folks.
“At the moment what we are seeing is just that churn, that revolving door of those people in and out of prison often for many many years.”