PUBLIC protection is just one of the improvements that need to be made at HMP Bullingdon, an inspectorate report has found.

Although safety and respect at the Oxfordshire prison has risen from not sufficiently good in May 2017 to reasonably good in July 2019, HM Inspectorate of Prisons’ assessments identified issues of overcrowding, violence and drugs.

The report reveals that 23 per cent of cells which were designed to hold one prisoner were instead holding two.

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Ofsted inspectors said that the provision of education, skills and work needed improvement while insufficient activity places for inmates, with a shortfall of around 400 places, was 'particularly concerning'.

Drugs was a further issue identified as more than half of the prisoners believed it was easy to get hold of them, and around one in five said that they had acquired a drug habit since coming in.

Shocking figures revealed by a freedom of information request found more than 500 items of contraband were confiscated from inmates in the Oxfordshire prison in 2017/18.

The report also noted that purposeful activity, including training and education, and rehabilitation and release planning was still ‘not sufficiently good'.

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Although violence had risen ‘substantially’ overall since 2015, there had been some 'welcome reductions' recently and levels were lower than at comparable prisons.

With an influx of new staff at the prison, Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons said they were being well supported, and are helping to keep the prison 'under control'.

Another concern highlighted was that many high-risk prisoners received little or no offender supervisor contact and public protection arrangements were 'poor'.

Mr Clarke said: “The danger that high-risk prisoners could be released in an unsafe way was very real, and heightened by failures to monitor and restrict inappropriate communications, and the fact that a third of prisoners were released to accommodation that was not considered to be sustainable.”

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Health care has improved and overall the report concluded that Bullingdon had made some ‘significant improvements’.

Ian Blakeman, Governor of the prison, said he is pleased with the findings particularly as 75 per cent of staff had less than two years' service.

He said: "We were really pleased to make improvements since taking on so many extra staff. We have very inexperienced staff so for them to achieve this in such a short amount of time is better than we would have hoped for.

"We recognise what we need to sort out and we know public protection is what we need to improve but I think it's a balanced report.

"We have put an action plan together with different things that we will work on but the urgent improvement is protection work and trying to get prisoners into purposeful activity.

"The cause of violence is another issue that we need to work on to understand."