HMP Bristol staff verbally abused inmates, inspectors say


Staff verbally abused inmates and dirty cells were found at a Bristol prison, an inspection report has revealed.

The discoveries were made during an unannounced visit to HMP Bristol in Horfield, earlier this year.

Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said a “sense of drift” had returned to the prison following a positive report in 2010.

The National Offender Management Service said the prison will receive support to help raise performance.

At the last inspection in 2010, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons had noted improvements and described a well-led prison with a “clear sense of direction” but found this progress had not been sustained.

‘Infestation of cockroaches’
The recent inspection found staff at the category-B prison, which can hold up to 600 inmates, were too “dismissive” towards inmates.

The report said staff displayed “delinquent” behaviour such as using “derogatory and abusive” language, and fewer prisoners than at similar prisons said staff treated them with respect.

Cells were also found to be dirty with damaged or missing furniture, offensive graffiti and an “infestation of cockroaches”.

The report also noted a lack of clean clothes and adequate bedding for inmates.

And inspectors witnessed the “arbitrary punishment” of a prisoner when a prison officer stopped him from having his full meals.

The report said the prison has taken action to discipline the staff concerned.

Mr Hardwick said the experience of prisoners was “poor” and identified priorities for the prison to improve the environment and staff culture and “ensure prisoners have something useful to do that will equip them for the future”.

‘Challenging time’
Positives identified by the inspectors included broadly proportionate security procedures, and the prison largely meeting its resettlement challenges.

Michael Spurr, of the National Offender Management Service, said at the time of the inspection, the prison had been through a “significant period of restructure and change”.

He also said a high turnover of prisoners presented “a challenging time for the governor and her staff”.

“The prison and its staff will receive the support necessary to help raise performance and deliver a safe and constructive environment for the prisoners it holds,” he added.

About the author

Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.