Horfield Prison in Bristol has been described as horrifying by a Gloucester judge.
Defendants who are taken to the only magistrate court in the county are sent to Hewell Prison in Redditch.
When they are charged by the magistrates in Cheltenham to attend hearings at Gloucester Crown Court, they refuse because they’re scared of being transferred to Horfield Prison.
On Friday, another case of a prisoner refusing to attend his court hearing came to the notice of Judge Ian Lawrie QC.
A 24-year-old, Benjamin Savory of Melmore Gardens, Cirencester, had been accused of fraud.
When he wasn’t present when his case was called, the judge asked the reason for his absence.
The defence lawyer, Sarah Jenkins stated the defendant’s unwillingness to leave Hewell.
She said, “The reality is that not every defendant that appears before this court is a career criminal, there is a genuine fear of Bristol.
“They are full of horror stories that have been relayed to them about Bristol by other prisoners.”
The judge replied, “Horfield is in a bracket all of its own. I have been to Horfield. I was horrified. That is a prison in the 21st century. In a country that has money.”
He noted that defendants from his court are sent to Horfield while those from the magistrate court are sent to Hewell due to geographical reasons. He proffered a solution of sending all of them to Horfield first, and sorting it out from there.
Savory’s case was adjourned to November 19.