A PRISON repeatedly criticised for being overcrowded has been praised as well-run and managed, by inspectors.

HMP Durham, which according the Howard League for Penal Reform is one of the most overcrowded prisons in the country, was lauded in a report by its Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

The prison houses around 850 inmates from across the North-East and has lost nearly a fifth of its budget between 2011 and 2014.

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However, the IMB report says: “The overall impression this board has of HMP Durham is of a well-run and managed prison.”

The report describes a “can do” establishment with a “dynamic management team” and inspectors say prisoners’ quality of life is not suffering due to overcrowding.

Durham prison is 200 years old and inspectors accept it can seem “physically and unattractive and unsuited to modern norms”.

However, they say: “Nonetheless, the senior management team leads a dedicated, professional, cheerful, polite and respectful team which runs a busy prison.

“This is no easy task at the best of times, and these are not easy times.”