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I'm Ben Bland and from here, in the world's
newsroom, we sent our correspondents to bring
you the best stories from
In this week's programme: inside one of Europe's
Ed Thomas gets exclusive access to Wandsworth in
south London where overcrowding, drugs, violence and corruption are
among the challenges facing the Prison Service.
It's so short-staffed in here, this place
Even a lot of the staff here are in fear.
And finding the dolphins of the Ganges.
Justin Rollins discovers the elusive creatures are surviving despite all
I never expected to see anything like as many dolphins
And it's such incredibly good news because what it
tells us is that this river is capable of supporting these
The British government is promising the biggest
shake-up since Victorian times of the prison system in England and
The move comes as concerns about safety standards have
The Chief Inspector of Prisons has said too many jails are
Under the plans, six prisons will be overhauled.
Ed Thomas has spent the
last week at one of them, Wandsworth prison in south London, where
overcrowding, drugs and violence are rife.
The BBC has been given unprecedented access inside a
Over seven days, we saw the fear and violence.
You've got to be able to defend yourself.
If you can't defend yourself, then you will
And the prison officers pushed to the very edge.
I think I'm probably the most stressed
A prisoner has refused to go back to his cell.
20 years ago, the inmate in the middle of all of this
We can't identify him but he told us he was trapped in a
I've had warfare with politics in jail.
I got sliced down the side of the face.
I've had my arm broken, I've got three broken bones
I've had murders in here left, right and centre.
And I've gone to them and said, look, at the
end of the day, you are putting me in a predicament where I have no
alternative but to utilise violence for my safety.
And with the greatest of respect, they are so
short-staffed in here, this place can't run, it's unsafe.
Even a lot of the staff that are in here are in
Lads, that smell of cannabis is really...
Next, B Wing, and the smell of cannabis is everywhere.
And then we see it, a group smoking below us, in full view.
How do you feel about people smoking cannabis is out there?
Imagine they can't get it next week, there are going to be fights
Where can you get cannabis from around here?
If you want cannabis, I can get you some.
It defeats everything that we're trying
You don't have to look far to find drugs in
He says all drugs are available at all
You can get spice, you can get heroin, you can get crack, you
Right now, all you've got to do is go down to the twos, to the
threes, to the ones, everything is there, anything you like.
Then there is that alcohol brewed in cells.
And the mobile phones, too, all smuggled into Wandsworth.
For a smartphone, ?700 they go for, retail price.
This prisoner asked us not to show his face.
Are you just saying that, though, to get officers in trouble?
I know officers that charge you ?500 a parcel the size of, say,
three tennis balls full of drugs, phones, whatever you want.
The BBC was invited here to hear the stories, to see the
pressure from a governor who is demanding change.
Corruption is the one thing that I absolutely cannot
One of the first things we would do with reform is to think
very carefully about how do we deal with those
issues of corruption and
what do we do to tackle those staff bringing those drugs in because that
will deal with some of the issues that you have highlighted and that
But how long will this prison reform take? The pressure inside is
building now and officers are getting hurt. At the moment, he has
been the victim of an assault. If she could, she would have be out the
job. For Andy, it cannot get any worse. It's because I care, I want
to make a difference, I believe my staff want to make a difference. We
are struggling, we haven't got the staff. I do think people care.
People don't care about my long-term health. I think I'm probably the
most stressed I been in 24 years in this job. What will happen to you?
If I'm like my colleagues, when I retire, I will die. Desperately
reform now. This prison revolution promised to fix broken jails and so
many broken lives. India has launched an ambitious $3 billion
programme to clean up the Ganges, India's greatest and most sacred
river. It's a huge challenge not least because the river is a sewer
carrying away waste from 450 billion people but they are also home to
rare dolphin which somehow survives despite all the pollution. Justin
has been out along the river in search of the elusive creatures.
Farrah Naseem is the holiest city in all of India. But just take a look
at this. It is also a huge source of pollution. The ancient practices of
Riverside cremation one tiny part of it. A far bigger problem is the
waste of the living. We can only treat third of the sewage. The city
generates more than 300 million litres of waste and 100 million
litres are treated. The rest go straight into the Ganges. Figures
elsewhere on the river I even worse. Independent study show 80% of sewage
is untreated. The government says it plans to build massive new waste
treatment infrastructure. Environmentalists say it can't come
soon enough for at least one key species. We have come down to the
Ganges and the hope was we might be able to spot the incredibly rare
dolphin and incredibly, within minutes of arriving here, I saw the
dorsal fin of one of them break the water. The real challenge I think
will be filming them. We have hired a little boat, this is it. And this
is the cameraman. How difficult will it be to film the Dolphins? It's
tough. They pop-out suddenly. You are an expert on the Dolphins here.
One of the programmes is to protect this rare animal. How rare is the
dolphin now? It's an endangered species and it's pretty rare to spot
these animals. But today, there seemed to be Dolphins all around us.
Six, seven! They have to surface every two minutes or so to breathe.
The challenge is getting where they will be. But after a bit, Sanjay
gets his eye in and look at this. This has been extraordinary. I never
expected to see anything like as many Dolphins as we have seen and
it's such incredibly good news because what it tells us is this
river is capable of supporting these wonderful animals. It also shows us
what's at stake, why it's so important that the Indian
government's efforts to clean up river succeed.
And that's all from us for this week. Goodbye for now.
A weekly programme of stories filed by BBC reporters from all over the world, ranging from analyses of major global issues to personal reflections and anecdotes.