The current overcrowding in many prisons is contributing to a variety of problems which are currently under review by prison authorities. Principally, overcrowding means a lack of resources for prisoners; these may include shortages of educational, dental and health services. New plans have recently been launched to build a number of new prisons to ease overcrowding in the most severely affected establishments.
Health care provision has improved since control was handed over to NHS Primary Care Trusts; currently most cases are dealt with quickly and effectively and standards are continuing to improve. The support available to prisoners is improving continuously with access to NHS services and chaplaincy guidance.
Studies have suggested that prison food and nutrition could be improved to provide a larger variety of healthier foods. Research has also suggested a need for educational initiatives to raise awareness of the dangers of a poor diet; this may include people to cook and prepare food for themselves.
Some older prisons are shabby and run-down; this could potentially present health and safety hazards in the future so these issues should be resolved as quickly as possible.
Several reports on the state of prisons suggested a need for greater cohesion between individual teams of staff and between prisoners and staff.