Lincoln prison 5th most overcrowded in the country

Lincoln Prison is one of the most over-populated in the country, according to a report warning of serious prison overcrowding.

The report, released by the Prison Reform Trust, lists Lincoln as the fifth most overcrowded prison in England and Wales, alongside notorious establishments such as Brixton and Wandsworth.

Lincoln prison is almost 40% overpopulated, with a certified normal capacity of 427. Currently, it is accommodating 680 prisoners.

The report from the Trust to government ministers, backed by the Prison Officers Association (POA), has aired concerns that the overcrowding is reaching unsustainable levels, putting officers and inmates at risk.

The POA national chairman, Peter McParlin, said: “Government policies of prison closures, budget cuts and competition are unsustainable.”

A POA representative for Lincoln, Glen Birchall, explained how the Victorian built prisons such as Lincoln’s, were designed for one person per cell but ‘doubling-up’ is now common practice with two occupants per cell.

Birchall said: “We have the same amount of prisons we had 10 years ago with 30,000 more prisoners and with budget cuts we now have less staff.

“Officers are losing their jobs, not managers, and Lincoln is a prime example of a prison operating on its bare bones, and it is dangerous.”

A Prison Service spokesperson blamed the public disorder in August across the country for causing increasing prisoner population nationwide and in Lincoln.

“We have been continually developing contingencies, currently having enough places for those being remanded and sentenced to custody and national capacity will continue to increase through 2012 with the opening of two new prisons.”

National prison numbers reached their highest ever total over Christmas, with 87,393 people incarcerated, 4,000 less than last year and just over 2,000 short of absolute capacity.