New figures show two or three prisoners sharing cells meant for one
A Liverpool prison is one of the most overcrowded in the country, it has been revealed.
Figures show that during the financial year 2012-13, an average of 659 prisoners in HMP Altcourse, Fazakerley, were forced to share cells meant for one person.
And 98 inmates were made to sleep three to a cell in rooms designed for two people.
Meanwhile at HMP Liverpool in Walton 352 prisoners had to share cells designed for single occupancy, with an open toilet, while 290 prisoners had to share at HMP Kennet in Maghull.
Across England and Wales 19,140 prisoners on average were forced to share a cell designed for one person.
The figures were obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform.
The charity’s chief executive, Frances Crook, said: “At last, we have the picture of the real state of overcrowding in our prisons.
“It’s far worse than anyone imagined: one in four people behind bars are packed like sardines into cramped cells.
“It should come as little surprise that such crowded conditions leave staff hugely overstretched, especially as more are being laid off.
“This means there are little to no opportunities for prisoners to work, learn or take courses to turn them away from crime.”
Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said: “Let's be clear what overcrowding in prison actually means – typically it means having to share a cell rather than have one to yourself.
“Prisoners are treated humanely but prison is not somewhere that anyone should be comfortable about going back to."