Leeds Prison has become a safer and more respectful place since a damning report in 2017 but it continues to face significant challenges, says Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.

The overcrowded inner-city prison is home to many men on remand from the Bradford area. It houses up to 1,131 adult male inmates, with about two-thirds convicted and around half sentenced.

In its latest report, the inspectorate found HMP Leeds to be less violent and more respectful.

Mr Clarke said it was “a generally competent institution where improvement was evident in many areas. This was particularly true of safety, which was now much better, although much remained to be done.”

A body scanner in the reception area had reduced the availability of illicit drugs and other contraband.

Levels of violence had reduced, although more than a third of inmates said they felt unsafe and intimidated by staff.

There had been eight self-inflicted deaths since 2017, and several others were under investigation. The number of incidents of self-harm was much higher than in similar prisons.

Although conditions were cramped, there was a proactive approach to upholding cleanliness.

Mr Clarke reported that the inspectorate was encouraged by what it saw. Important work was being done and improvements were evident.

He concluded: “The Governor and his team deserve acknowledgment for what they have achieved so far. Priorities going forward include further improvements in safety outcomes, notably safeguarding those at risk of self-harm, and getting prisoners out of cells and into purposeful activity with greater consistency.”