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12 September 2013, 00:01
Prison inspectors say they still have significant concerns about the soon to close HMP Blundeston in Suffolk.
It was safer and there was more for prisoners to do, but bullying was an issue and health care was poor, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the Suffolk training prison.
HMP Blundeston was last inspected in 2011 when inspectors found the prison was going backwards. This inspection found that the decline had been halted and in most areas outcomes for prisoners were improving. However, in some significant areas, largely outside the prison’s direct control, outcomes were not acceptable. A week ago, the government announced that HMP Blundeston would close, possibly by the end of the year.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:
Nick Hardwick said:
“Overall, HMP Blundeston had made good progress since the last inspection. It was a safer place, staff-prisoner relationships had improved and practical resettlement services were better. Further improvements are still required and some of these the prison itself needs to address. It can and should do more to address the causes of bullying and support victims, and its offender management needs to be strengthened. However, the night sanitation arrangements and poor health care are largely outside its direct control. The National Offender Management Service and health care commissioner need to work closely with the prison to resolve or at least mitigate these concerns.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“This report highlights the hard work and commitment that has been put in from staff to improve the conditions at HMP Blundeston, despite the poor state of much of the accommodation.
“The decision to close the prison is part of our wider strategy to modernise the estate and is not a reflection of the excellent work undertaken by staff.
“We will continue to ensure Blundeston operates safely and securely in the run up to its closure.”