Lady of Justice
HMP Ranby in Nottinghamshire has been branded "not a safe prison" with high levels of violence by a HMIP report released on Thursday.Getty

Conditions in a prison in Nottinghamshire are so bad that prisoners are breaking the rules by climbing on to protective netting, designed to prevent suicides, in order to get moved to the segregation unit.

During an unannounced inspection of HMP Ranby, the HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) discovered the prison, which holds more than 1,000 men, was dirty and nearly half the population said they felt unsafe having been victimised or intimidated.

It is believed that prisoners climbed netting in a display of bad behaviour to force their transfer to the segregation unit where they feel safer and believe they have a greater chance of transferring to a different prison altogether, a spokesperson for the HMIP told IBTimes UK.

This is despite conditions in segregation being "poor", the report states.

Though protests on protective netting in prisons is not unheard of, this is the first time such acts by prisoners have been explicitly laid out in the introduction to a report on the state of prisons in the UK, the HMIP spokesperson continued. Protests by prisoners on rooftops are a much more common occurrence.

The HMP Ranby report was published on Thursday following an 11-day inspection after two prisoners died through "self-inflicted deaths" at the site.

A further two inmates have died in a similar way since the inspection in March.

Evidence was found of an increasing number of incidences of self-harm at the category C training prison, the availability of legal high drugs was also found to have increased, and the prison was described as "not a safe prison" with "high levels of violence".

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said the report showed a prison "in crisis".

He said: "This report is troubling and we identified many problems within the prison.

"However, we were encouraged that the governor, who had been appointed relatively recently, recognised the extent of the challenge faced at Ranby."

Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service said: "Ranby has a challenging population to manage but the governor has taken decisive action to address the concerns raised by the report."

Spurr added that the prison has been through a "difficult period" but "significant progress has been made under a new experienced Governor who was appointed shortly before this inspection".