Woodhill Prison is overcrowded, understaffed, and has seen a rising number of serious incidents involving inmates, according to a stark new report.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) this week released its annual report into HMP Woodhill.
The document, which will be submitted to the Secretary Of State For Justice, also raises the problem of low staff morale, and of four deaths in custody.
IMB bosses have added that some problems have only got worse since the report was completed, and Woodhill now relies on staff from elsewhere covering shifts.
An IMB spokesman said: “Overcrowding, restricted regimes and limited rehabilitation opportunities coupled with staff shortages have led to a very challenging year.
“There have been four deaths in custody in the reporting year. These sad events have had an impact on both staff and prisoners.”
The IMB report covers the period June 2013 to May 2014.
It says that the prison has staff shortages at all grades, while there has also been a change of governing governor and the deputy governor role only covered on a temporary basis.
This staff shortage has meant restricting prison life “in order to maintain a secure environment”.
A spokesman explained the conequences of staff shortages.
They said: “Progress made by the management team is largely negated by further restrictions to the delivery of the regime.
“Operational stability is dependent on the provision of detached duty staff from other establishments.”
> A prisoner suffered life-threatening injuries after being assaulted last month.
The 27-year-old man, believed to be in a coma, remains in a critical condition.
Nobody has been arrested.