Warren Hill Prison Needs Cash

17 March 2010, 05:51 | Updated: 17 March 2010, 05:56

Investment is needed to improve the facilities at a Suffolk prison for teenage criminals.

An official Government report on Warren Hill's been published today.

Warren Hill had progressed considerably despite its challenging and volatile population, but there was insufficient purposeful activity, said Dame Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Although Warren Hill was essentially safe, some of the buildings were unsuitable, and inspectors had concerns that changes to the education contract has resulted in a significant reduction in purposeful activity.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that: 

  • safeguarding arrangements were sound and those at risk of self-harm were well cared for;
  • there had been no further instances of forcible strip searching; 
  • the quality of accommodation was satisfactory;
  • relationships between staff and young people were mostly good, although black and minority ethnic young people were less positive; 
  • most people spent enough time out of their cells;
  • resettlement was effectively managed; and
  • the quality of education was good.

Further concerns included: 

  •  the fact that reception was still housed in a portakabin and new arrivals were held inappropriately on the same unit as young people separated for poor behaviour;
  • the difficulty staff had securing accommodation for young people on release; and 
  • the need for direction and a clear national role for the separate Carlford Unit for young people serving long sentences.

Anne Owers said: "We found considerable progress at Warren Hill and staff are to be commended on their achievements. However, the establishment badly needs investment in its infrastructure, particularly to replace the inadequate reception, first night and segregation facilities, and it is of concern that the education contract has been changed, leaving young people with less purposeful activity. Without support to remedy these deficits, Warren Hill will struggle to sustain its recent improvements."

Phil Wheatley, Director General of the National Offender Management Service, said: "I am pleased that the Chief Inspector commends the good work undertaken by the Governor and staff at Warren Hill to maintain a safe and secure environment for the challenging population it holds.

"Positive relationships with staff, good quality education, along with effective resettlement all reduce the likelihood of re-offending, and help to protect the public."