Convicts fix-up jail showers in refurb worthy of TV homes makeover show DIY SOS

Convicts have done up a jail’s shockingly poor showers in a refurb worthy of TV homes ­makeover show DIY SOS.

They were asked to roll up their sleeves by the governor after the jail received an exorbitant quote for work.

The work at a prison in Kent is like an episode of the hit BBC series hosted by Nick Knowles and has been applauded by a jail watchdog.

The governor’s initiative at the 27-year-old HMP Elmley, on the Isle of Sheppey, was ­revealed in a report from the Independent Monitoring Board.

It said essential work had been put on hold and the showers badly ­needed renovation.

It said: “A team of prisoner ­tradesmen was assembled, a works programme approved.

“This initiative has proved to be very successful so far, with the team ­currently part way through the works programme and hoping that some form of certification will result from their efforts, something that the Board ­supports wholeheartedly.”

The category B/C jail teaches lags bricklaying. Construction firm Willmott Dixon has an academy there.

There are also regular events ­attended by up to 25 employers offering vacancies after interviews.

The report added: “The employers are impressed by how well the men had been prepared for their interviews.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “This innovative DIY scheme saves the taxpayer money on routine repairs and teaches prisoners tangible workplace skills which can help them get a job on release.”

But inspectors said there was no cash available to fix up cells in Elmley, which houses about 1,000 men.

A letter to UK prison newspaper Inside Time from an anonymous 68-year-old inmate highlighted their poor condition.

The con – who has had a triple ­bypass, two strokes and four heart attacks – complained of being locked up for more than 21 hours a day in a cold, unheated 12ft by 7ft cell with only two blankets to keep warm.

He wrote: “I have used toothpaste in an attempt to block the drafts from the windows and the ill-fitting doors.

“If someone dies it will be due to poor management and neglect, not natural causes. There is nothing natural about the conditions we are currently experiencing.”

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