Mixed reports for young offenders institutes

Swinfen Hall young offenders institution in Staffordshire has
been declared a centre of excellence in a `unique step` by the
chief inspector of prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham.

The report, based on a review of the prison in November,
concludes that Swinfen Hall “is not only a healthy establishment,
but it is one in which the needs as well as the characteristics of
young, adolescent prisoners, are understood and catered for”.

It comes in stark contrast to a second report, also published
last week, which condemns Stoke Heath Young Offenders Institution
in Shropshire as “not a safe establishment”.

The second report, based on an inspection carried out in October
2000, recommends that no children should be sent to Stoke Heath
until “decent and humane treatment and conditions are not only in
place, but can be guaranteed”.

“The Prison Service must ensure that the basic standards for the
treatment of children in custody are never allowed to deteriorate
to the level found at Stoke Heath,” it concludes.

The criticisms follow Ramsbotham’s discovery that were 717
reported injuries to children and young prisoners, from a variety
of causes, during an eight-month period at Stoke Heath.

Commenting on first report, Martin Narey, director general of
the Prison Service, said: “I am delighted that the chief inspector
found so much to praise at Swinfen Hall. The governor and her staff
can take great pride in what they have achieved.”

Swinfen Hall was particular praised for a regime which “allowed
young men to mature”.



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