THE "truly dreadful" overcrowding of Armley Prison in Leeds is putting enormous stresses on staff and leaving inmates ill-prepared for release, a new report says.
The jail's Independent Monitoring Board made the comments in its annual report to Home Secretary David Blunkett.
The report said overcrowding in the period up to the end of January was running at 60% beyond its normal population level of 806 prisoners.
The board said the prison's population was rarely below 1,240 and often at its absolute maximum of 1,254.
"This represents an overcrowding of 60% - achieved by putting two men into cells designed for one," it said.
"The resulting stress on the inmates, on the staff valiantly trying to provide a positive and progressive regime, and on the basic systems of the prison is enormous."
The board told the Secretary of State: "It is truly dreadful to have this situation in the 21st century.
"The pressures on all those at HMP Leeds are unacceptable and can lead only to prisoners being ill-prepared for release.