Hosting failures at HMP Berwyn could cause ‘major challenges’, report warns

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DEFECTS in accommodation at HMP Berwyn could cause “major challenges” if not corrected, a report warned.

A recently published annual report by the Prison’s Independent Oversight Board reports paint, plaster and heating issues in the facility between early March 2020 and late February 2021.

The chief reported last year how the board raised the same issues in its 2019-20 conclusions.

In the latest report, he says: “The reliability of the building’s heating system is always a concern.

“The system has already failed, causing a lack of heating and hot water for the inmates.

“A backup system is now in place. It should be noted that this back-up system only applies to the three main prisoner houses and not to the remaining locations on the site.

“However, this raises concerns as the building is relatively new and the potential for trouble that can be caused by a lack of heating and hot water is high.

“There has been no heating failure this year, but the system is still not working and has not yet been validated, about four to five years after it opened.

“Given that the facility is newly built, it is disappointing that the plaster on the walls was poorly prepared and applied. This resulted in latent paint defects, leading to excessive paint peeling in the inmate rooms.

“Some corrective work has taken place. However, this remains an issue to be resolved between HMPPS Wales, the Department of Justice and the contractor, with the assistance of government legal teams.

“The consequences of further delay are that conditions for prisoners are not up to the standard we would expect.

“The Council would like to be assured that the wider problems related to serious paint defects and inefficient heating systems will be resolved in the near future.

“The Board has been informed that contract negotiations may take some time.

“Failure to resolve or delay this work poses major challenges in terms of the capacity and functioning of the establishment.”

The Justice Department has been approached for comment.

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