A prisoner gouged out his eyes in protest at the sweltering conditions inside his cell, it was revealed today.
The unnamed man inflicted the horrifying injuries on himself at HMP Nottingham on Monday evening as temperatures reached about 25C.
An ambulance then took the man, believed to be just days from his release date, to the Queen’s Medical Centre hospital in Nottingham.
Prison bosses say they have now launched an investigation.
A number of inmates were thought to be protesting at conditions across the jail when the shocking incident took place.
A source inside the jail said: ‘Somebody cut their eyes out of their face. He was protesting. The heat is just so high. Prisoners simply can’t deal with it.
‘They need to let some air in the room. It’s only going to get worse.’
East Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed it was called to the scene at 6.43pm to treat a male patient and that a prison nurse was already helping the man.
Police also confirmed they were called to the jail at 8pm the same evening to a report of an injured man and, following inquiries, ‘it was established that no crime had taken place’.
A statement from the Ministry of Justice said: ‘A prisoner at HMP Nottingham was taken to hospital following an act of self-harm.
‘Staff reacted quickly and paramedics attended. No other prisoners were involved.
‘The prison is investigating the incident and police were informed as a matter of course.’
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, was critical of conditions in prisons today.
She said: ‘Prison windows allow virtually no ventilation so temperatures in tiny cells holding two or three men soar to unbearable levels and the stench from the open toilet is overwhelming.
‘Men are caged in these cells for up to 23 hours a day.
‘We have reverted to prison conditions of the eighteenth century.’
The incident comes after a critical report of the Category B prison was released by the Independent Monitoring Board.
The organisation’s annual review said a 25 per cent cut in budget had led to the loss of 140 officers despite the capacity of the prison being upped in the same period.
The IMB said the changes in operations were ‘unsustainable’ and would lead to ‘more prisoner disruption and a further reduction in already low staff morale’ in the future.
It said prisoners were being stopped from having showers, work and education programmes were being cancelled, prisoners with serious mental health problems were being kept in cells formerly used for solitary confinement and Muslim inmates’ food had been contaminated with pork products.
Speaking earlier this week, a Prison Service spokesman said: ‘Staffing levels at HMP Nottingham are at an appropriate level to ensure the prison runs safely.
‘Our approach to staffing levels has been agreed with the unions and puts prison officers back in frontline roles where they are most needed.’
But a woman visiting the prison said the conditions were ‘dreadful.’
She added: ‘It is disgusting. They hardly leave their cells, being in there at least 23 hours a day if not 24.
‘They can have as little as one shower a week and exercise twice a week, which they are meant to have every day. That place is just horrible.’