Lewes Prison

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 23 May 2024.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons entitled Report on an announced inspection of HMP Lewes by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons 5–16 February 2024, published on 14 May 2024, what discussions he has had on conditions in HMP Lewes in the last six months; when did these discussions take place; and what estimate he has made of the amount of investment required to tackle rising levels of (a) violence, (b) self-harm, (c) drug misuse, (d) ageing infrastructure and (e) staffing shortfalls at the prison.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Ministers and senior officials continue to engage closely with leaders responsible for HMP Lewes in a variety of ways, not limited to in-person meetings and site visits.

The Prison Group Director for Kent, Surrey and Sussex frequently visits HMP Lewes, and his assessment of conditions at the prison informs consideration by Ministers and senior officials.

HMP Lewes is subject to estate-wide, nationally-led, security and safety improvement programmes. These include the installation of security features such as body scanners and other technology to stop illicit substances, weapons, and mobile telephones from entering prisons. Additionally, we have invested to incentivise drug-free living, and to continue work that is already under way in removing potential ligature points in cells.

A range of ongoing and planned projects to improve the infrastructure at HMP Lewes includes refurbishing showers, upgrading heating systems, replacing windows, and installing more decency features.

As these programmes and projects are funded from a variety of budgets, some of which are estate-wide, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of costs.

Our staffing position has greatly improved across the estate. At prisons where recruitment challenges remain, we will continue to offer an additional supplement to attract new Prison Officers.

More information is available in the Prisons White Paper, which can be accessed via the following link: Prisons Strategy White Paper - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

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