No sprinklers have been fitted in residential parts of prisons in England and Wales despite the fact that more than 670 fires were started maliciously by inmates last year, Home Office ministers have confirmed.

The Prison Service has also admitted that sprinklers are not being fitted to the landings in the new women's prison at Ashford, Kent, which is due to open in June, nor the new prison at Peterborough which is to open next year. The only establishment in the prison system fitted with sprinklers is HMP Weare, the prison ship, docked in Portland harbour.

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