DIFFICULTIES in cell sharing causes "significant challenges" at HMP Berwyn, it has been said.

An annual report published recently by the prison's Independent Monitoring Board examined several aspects of the prison's running and prisoner welfare between the beginning of March 2020 and the end of February 2021.

This included accommodation, clothing and food - with 'cell sharing' being a concern.

The report explains: "Cell sharing is regularly raised as an issue by the men to board members on rota visits and via applications.

"However, the establishment cannot give what it does not have.

"Designing the prison with 70 per cent of rooms as double occupancy and 30 per cent as single occupancy causes significant challenges for both the prisoners and staff – especially given the high number of prisoners who are unable to share owing to cell sharing risk assessment requirements, medical conditions, and various other individual issues."

The year covered by the report saw the first time the prison had experienced near full operational capacity since it opened in 2017 (the average monthly population over that time being 1725


It was made with the capacity to hold 2,106 prisoners, but during the Covid-19 pandemic this was reduced to 1,801.

The Ministry of Justice was approached by the Leader for comment.