A men’s prison on Teesside is “not good or safe enough”, an inspection report has concluded.
HM Inspectorate of Prisons also said that staff at Holme House near Stockton had an “indifferent” attitude.
The prisons watchdog last inspected the jail in 2017 when many inmates were found to be drug abusers.
HM Prison and Probation Service director Phil Copple said “swift action” had been taken and “impressive” work had been done tackling drug abuse.
When it was last inspected three years ago it was found that a quarter of the 1,200 inmates had developed a drug problem while in jail.
The prison was inspected in February and March this year and Peter Clarke, chief inspector of prisons, said the drug problem was being tackled.
However, he said: “Overall, it was clear to us that the prison was falling well short of achieving its purpose as a training prison for category C prisoners.”
He also said it was “still not safe enough” and arrangements to receive and induct new prisoners were “inadequate”.
He also found that levels of violence were consistent with similar prisons, but “much more” could be done to improve the safety of prisoners and reduce violence further.
Since the last inspection there have been three self-inflicted deaths and self-harm incidents have increased at the jail, inspectors found.
The prison’s response to this priority is “inconsistent” , Mr Clarke added.
“It is too soon to say how Holme House will emerge from the Covid-19 crisis and to judge the longer-term impact this experience will have on the prison”, Mr Clarke said.
“The prison seems to be reasonably well resourced and equipped, and its purpose seems clearly defined.
“The key to Holme House’s success will be ensuring that staff are encouraged to engage constructively and consistently with prisoners and that standards generally are raised.”