Jeremy Hunt raised questions about his constituent's case in early April but only received a response last month. Photo: Rashid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency
Jeremy Hunt raised the alarm about “extremely worrying” conditions and staffing problems at Wandsworth Prison just months before terror suspect Daniel Khalife escaped from prison.
The Chancellor passed a detailed set of allegations against the State about the south-west London prison and poor staff standards to the Governor of Wandsworth. The allegations were made by a constituent who had been detained there for eight months.
After Katie Price, the prison's governor, received no response to her complaint in April, Mr Hunt referred the complaint to Damian Hinds , Prisons Minister, and Prison Service Headquarters in June, but only finally received a response last month.
The constituent's allegations, a former businessman, centered on conditions such as overcrowding, violence and dirty cells, as well as demotivated and ineffective staff who were not performing their duties.
Disclosures will accumulate. Pressure is on the Government over whether it should have acted sooner to tackle the crisis at Wandsworth, where there are almost 670 more prisoners than expected and a staff absence rate of between 30 and 44 per cent.
The development comes as Justice Minister Alex Chalk said 40 prisoners had been transferred from Wandsworth Prison following Khalife's escape last Wednesday morning.
He said 40 prisoners had been transferred “out of an abundance of caution” . ” following criticism that ex-soldier Khalifa should not be placed in a Category B prison such as Wandsworth, but in a Category A maximum security prison.
Authorities have faced criticism that Khalife was placed in a category B prison like Wandsworth rather than a maximum security category A prison. Photo: Eddie Mulholland for The Telegraph
Mr Chalk also hinted that the investigation into Khalife's escape focused on people. error and reported that preliminary findings indicate that all personnel and appropriate security protocols were on site when Khalife escaped while tied to the bottom of the truck.
Khalife, 21, was arrested on a canal towpath in west London at 10.41am on Saturday after he was pulled off his bike by a plainclothes counter-terrorism officer. He was arrested after a four-day search and will appear before Westminster magistrates on Monday on charges of escaping from prison.
Mr Hunt raised his constituent's case in early April after receiving a six-page detailed log of his time under arrest. guards at Wandsworth.
“Thank you for taking the time to write to me about the conditions at HMP Wandsworth – they are extremely worrying,” Mr Hunt replied.
“I fully understand your reasons for making a complaint, which is why I have brought your concerns to the attention of Katie Price, warden at HMP Wandsworth.”
The former prisoner said staff did “only the best they could” when there was no officer on duty manager and there were no consequences for poor performance. He said an officer stole his jacket.
Mr Hunt also described a “serious” incident at the prison with Charlie Taylor, the chief inspector of prisons, after he was alerted to an alleged attack on a prisoner in the cell.
Early last month the Chancellor told the former prisoner he was “disappointed and very concerned” by the lack of answers.
0809 hmp Escape from Wandsworth Prison
A A Prison Service spokesman said the service had apologized for the delay in responding to the former's complaints prisoner, which he said was caused by an “administrative error.” The Ministry of Justice is also understood to have responded to Mr Hunt.
Wandsworth Prison's response argued that its aim was to provide the “best possible treatment” for prisoners and that staff who had failed to improve their performance he could face being sacked.
Last week Mr Tyalor said HMP Wandsworth “in an ideal world” should be closed amid a damning series of regulatory reports saying its practices were causing ” serious concern.”< /p>
It comes as a prisoner at HMP Wandsworth remains in a critical condition in hospital after being stabbed on Sunday.