It’s pretty much a given that prisons are not nice places to spend one’s time, but at the height of a long hot summer, all that unwashed, despairing and angry humanity, coupled with the claustrophobic and stagnant conditions is going to have a negative influence on the staunchest of souls.
Take for example the case of a UK prisoner under lock and key in HMP Nottingham. The prisoner in question inflicted the most horrific injuries upon himself reportedly in protest against something that shouldn’t have really been an issue.
The prisoner allegedly gouged out his own eyes due to the sweltering conditions that were said to be making life unbearable for the men in the jail.
As temperatures soared and the heat became oppressively high for the men caged in their tiny cells, the prisoner is said to have pulled out his own eyes because he couldn’t deal with the conditions any more.
The Ministry of Justice have said there is no evidence to suggest the unamed man gouged out his own eyes due to the heat and released a statement which reads “A prisoner at HMP Nottingham was taken to hospital following an act of self-harm. Staff reacted quickly and paramedics attended. No other prisoners were involved. The prison is investigating the incident and police were informed as a matter of course.”
Yet the Daily Mail reported that a HMP Nottingham source revealed “Somebody cut their eyes out of their face. The heat is just so high.”
The Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook, slammed conditions in UK prisons.
“Prison windows allow virtually no ventilation so temperatures in tiny cells holding two or three men soar to unbearable levels and the stench from the open toilet is overwhelming. Men are caged in these cells for up to 23 hours a day. We have reverted to prison conditions of the eighteenth century.”
HMP Nottingham has recently been in the firing line after an Independent Monitoring Board found it extremely lacking in all areas.
A 25 percent loss in budget had led to the loss of 140 officers, yet the prison population increased during the same period.
Prisoners were prevented from showering and denied access to work and education programmes because of low staffing levels and prisoners with mental issues were being placed in solitary confinement.
Despite a Prison Service spokesman stressing that staffing levels were appropriate to ensure the prison runs safely, a woman visitor to the prison said “It is disgusting.”
“They hardly leave their cells, being in there at least 23 hours a day if not 24. They can have as little as one shower a week and exercise twice a week, which they are meant to have every day. That place is just horrible.”