Delays in the transfer of prisoners with complex mental health conditions to specialist health facilities, and outstanding repairs to showers and workshop areas, are highlighted by a report about HMP Isle of Wight.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB)'s 2019 annual report is published today (Wednesday).

In May, staff were praised by prisoners for their compassion during the coronavirus crisis. Read more: Pictures: Prisoners praise HMP Isle of Wight staff for coronavirus lockdown 'compassion'

The IMB report covers January to December 2019.

Board members found improvements to mental health support, with measures including new support staff, paid for by NHS England funding, but said more needed to be done.

The report found prisoners were treated with 'care and sensitivity' but it noted the two sites that make up HMP Isle of Wight - Albany and Parkhurst - were underfunded in 2019.

HMP Isle of Wight had around 1000 prisoners on average last year - of which 98 per cent were convicted sex offenders and one hundred of whom were serving life sentences.

Assaults on staff rose by 3 incidents in 2019, to 68.

There was a fall in prisoner-on-prisoner attacks and the overall number of violent incidents fell.

There was a ten per cent rise in incidents of self harm - with 66 recorded - and the report said that was a matter of concern for the governor

In all, 156 prisoners were sharing cells, even though no cells at the prison are designed to be shared.

The report also noted that staff and board members had been deeply affected by the death of a member of staff while on night duty. A support programme was launched for those affected.

Chair of the Board, Linda Johnson said: “While the IMB congratulates the prison on the improvements made during 2019, the Board continues to be concerned regarding the delays in transferring prisoners with complex mental health conditions. This was also identified as a concern during the HMIP inspection. The Board has raised this issue with the Minister.”