Public money has been wasted on a poorly supervised refurbishment of an open prison, according to an independent report.

Contractors were removed earlier this year after concerns about work on refurbishing shower blocks at Latchmere House, the annual report of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Ham prison has said.

Latchmere House rehabilitates male prisoners approaching the end of their sentences, and who are resettling within the M25, letting them out to work on a daily basis.

Outgoing chairman Richard Vaughan-Payne said: “Work is going very slowly and we are concerned.

"If it is of the standard of work in Wing B, it will be poor.

“The board is not convinced going for the cheapest tender and not supervising it is the most cost effective way of approaching work.

“We are concerned with the waste of money.”

No one from Latchmere House was available for comment.

The report also claimed inmates being rehabilitated at the open prison were still waiting for electricity in their cells years after they were promised.

The independent monitoring board said that the promise was now the subject of “derision” by staff and inmates and called for an explanation for the delays.

Mr Vaughan-Payne said: “Until it happens we regard it as a bit of an empty promise.”

The report also said overcrowding in other prisons was leading to unsuitable prisoners being sent to Latchmere - trebling the number sent back to closed prisons for disciplinary reasons ranging from drug possession to aggressive behaviour.

The board is looking for two more members to volunteer.

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