Serious assaults at a troubled prison doubled in the last year, new figures show.

Statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that prisoners in HMP Lewes committed 24 serious assaults in 2022, up from 12 the previous year.

The figures mark a sharp rise in assaults compared to the rest of the country, where assaults rose by 19 per cent.

The prison has been under increased scrutiny after inspections found “squalid conditions” where inmates were left in cells for up to 23 hours.

Pia Sinha, chief executive of the Prison Reform Trust, said the latest figures are a "dire sign of the state of some of our prisons".

Ms Sinha said: "With too many people held in spaces they weren’t designed for; staff who are burnt out and leaving in droves; and people locked up for much of the day, frustration and violence are the all too familiar consequences.

"It is only when people in our prisons have purpose and hope, and staff have the space to develop relationships with those in their care, that we can avoid so much unnecessary and damaging conflict."


Living accommodation at the 624-prisoner jail remained poor during an inspection in January. Graffiti was found on walls and many toilets were in an “unacceptable state”.

The new statistics also come shortly after police announced they were investigating an incident in HMP Lewes where an inmate was “stabbed”.

Sussex Police say they were informed at around 4.40pm on Tuesday, May 2 that an inmate had been taken to hospital. The prisoner reportedly suffered a “laceration” and was treated and discharged on the same day.

The Argus: Inside Lewes PrisonInside Lewes Prison

Across England and Wales, 2,417 serious assaults were recorded in 2022. While this equates to a 19% rise from 2021, statistics are still below pre-pandemic levels.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “Assaults in prison nationally are nearly 30% lower than in 2019 with a similar trend at HMP Lewes as a result of the hard work of our staff and our £100m investment in prison security which means fewer of the weapons, drugs and phones that fuel violence are getting in in the first place.”