Aylesbury YOI "Out Of Control"

20 October 2011, 05:00 | Updated: 20 October 2011, 12:03

Prison officers at Aylesbury Young Offenders' Institution drew their batons too many times and there wasn't enough for the prisoners to do - that's from the chief inspector of prisons.

It's after a surprise inspection of the Buckinghamshire prison - which houses 437 young men aged 18 to 21, some of the most dangerous young criminals in the country.

Nick Hardwick told Heart it was unacceptable that managers at the institution in Buckinghamshire praised their staff for using their batons.

Mr Hardwick said:

"Batons had been drawn by staff on nearly 40 occasions over the last two years, and although used on only a few of those occasions, this was much more than we have seen elsewhere.''

They also found that accommodation standards were poor, cells were dirty, offenders could not have a shower every day, and there was "far too little for the young men to do''.

Mr Hardwick added: "What we saw in this inspection was a prison in which young men serving long sentences spent most of the day locked in their cells and, when they were out on the wings, too little attempt to engage them or help them develop the skills and experience they needed to get and hold down a job on release.''

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:

"The unprecedented frequency in which prison officers are using batons on the young people in Aylesbury, as well as having hundreds of serious incidents and assaults in one year, suggests that Aylesbury is regularly out of control and dangerous for staff and prisoners.

"The treatment highlighted by this damning inspectorate report will hamper a safe return to the community and puts victims at risk.''

The report found the number of violent incidents and assaults did appear to be going down - but weapons were often used, which they said was troubling.

But Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said:

"Aylesbury has a challenging population and I am pleased that improvement is acknowledged in key areas such as safety, vocational training and resettlement.

"The governor and staff will now tackle the concerns raised over the use of force, staff-prisoner relationships and purposeful activity.

"All these actions, combined with already the effective resettlement highlighted here, will reduce the likelihood of re-offending and thereby protect the public.''