Women assaulted with cockroaches and boiling sugar water in female-only jail

Alleged violence and unsanitary conditions on a special wing that has homed some of the UK’s most notorious female prisoners has been exposed in a new documentary.

Located in Cheshire, HMP Styal is a prison for female adults and young offenders and has homed some of the UK’s most notorious offenders including Baby P’s mum Tracey Connelly, and murderer Savannah Brockhill.

The jail has been subject to scrutiny after an inmate suffered a cardiac arrest and died at the start of this month,and now conditions at the prison have been examined in a Channel 5 documentary HMP Styal: Women Behind Bars.

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During the programme, prisoners at staff at the jail made claims about the horrific treatment that some of the high-profile lags could sometimes receive from others in the prison.

Veronica Bird, a retired deputy governor who worked at HMP Styal, alleged inmates would “put cockroaches in their bed.”

One anonymous ex-inmate even admitted to “spitting” in another lag’s food, and suggested that she was often on a quest to find the most horrible thing she could drop in someone’s dinner.

Another added: “A couple of people have got done with boiling water and sugar.”

To guard against this treatment, high profile inmates are reportedly kept in their own special section of the prison, known as ‘Wait Wing’.

The documentary alleged that conditions on the special wing weren’t much better.

One inmate claimed: “The state of affairs on the wing itself was just disgraceful; mattresses full of blood, I’ve caught scabies off the mattress. There were combs in the shower full of nits.. That’s how it was then.

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“People would be walking down the landing and throwing up because they were rattling [withdrawing from drugs].”

Another agreed, adding: “It’s a dive. Obviously there’s a lot of women coming in who are detoxing, women with mental health problems, and there’s a lot of paedophiles, there’s a lot of murderers, child killers.”

A Prison Service spokesperson responded to the documentary’s allegations, saying: “This year, independent inspectors commended HMP Styal as a clean and safe environment with ‘impressive’ work to support the most vulnerable.”

You can tune in to HMP Styal: Women Behind Bars on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight (August 17).

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