Unacceptable Facilities Court Custody

December 2013

The Lay Observers Annual National Report has revealed unacceptable levels of cleanliness and hygiene in court custody.

“The level of individual care afforded to prisoners while in the contractor’s custody has rarely been found lacking and this is testament to the efforts of both contractors and the dedication of their staff to maintain a high level of care for the prisoners in their control. 

“However, there has been very little overall improvement in the standard of daily cleaning in a majority of courts and some have seen a significant decline in standards. The contract is well specified and all too often is simply not being delivered. Services are being paid for by HMCTS but the standard or quality of delivery is often very poor.”

Among their observations, Lay Observers noted that:

  • many court custody facilities continued to be in a poor state of decoration and needed graffiti to be cleaned away or painted over
  • the length of time prisoners spent in court custody could often be in excess of eight hours, which was particularly concerning for young offenders
  • soap, hand towels and toilet paper were sometimes not given out until prisoners requested them, which was degrading
  • heating and ventilation were insufficient or inadequate in many courts.

The Lay Observers National Annual Report is available in full here: http://layobservers.org.uk/images/stories/Uploads/2012-13%20lay%20observer%20annual%20report.pdf