HMP The Mount has been running at virtually full capacity for a year – according to latest statistics.
The Gazette has analysed prison population figures from September last year to this August.
And our findings show that on average, there were just 16 places left until the prison was at full capacity.
Over the last 12 months, the prison, based in Bovingdon, has never been operating at lower than 97.8 per cent of its operational capacity.
The highest it had been has been 99.4 per cent full.
The prison has at least never been beyond its operational capacity, unlike the vast majority of other prisons in the South East region, where the average figure is 11 per cent over normal capacity.
But prison campaign groups fear that with a rising prison population, it’s leaving very little margin for error when it comes to ensuring a safe environment for both staff and prisoners.
Frances Crook, from the Howard League for Penal Reform, this week said: “Prisons are so grossly crowded, under-resourced and understaffed.”
And the league’s website states: “While the prison population continues to grow, the money and resources available to manage that population growth is simply not there.”
HMP The Mount is home to roughly 1,000 prisoners, and a recent report by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said that a staff shortage was one of many ingredients that could ‘lead to disorder’.
Riots broke out at the prison in August, with signifcant damage to one wing.