The government and prison service needs to address deficits in
the regimes for 18 to 20-year-olds, according to the chief
inspector of prisons this week, writes Clare
Anne Owers has urged the government to provide additional
resources to allow establishments to improve education, training
and purposeful activity for this group of young offenders.
An inspection report of Onley young offenders’ institution
in Warwickshire highlights unacceptable deficits in education and
training. Education targets were set too high for 70 per cent of
the prison population, and unsentenced children were locked up for
20 hours a day.
There was the need for proactive relationships between staff and
young people, an anti-bullying strategy, and there were also
shortfalls in sentence planning and resettlement work for over
The inspectors did, however, note areas of good practice in
healthcare and drugs work.
There were also good initiatives at Hindley young
offenders’ institution near Wigan, according to an inspection
report, particularly in suicide prevention, drugs strategy,
sentence planning and joint work with the police service to monitor
and act on racial incidents.
But insufficient purposeful activity for young men was
highlighted. Some spent 18 hours a day in their cells, and had just
15 hours per week education, work and training.
Resettlement work was inadequate. There was one excellent
programme that reached just one fifth of the prisoners. But 25 per
cent of prisoners expected to be homeless on release, yet nearly
half had received no help to find housing. Over two thirds said no
one had spoken to them about jobs or education.
Owers said: “The gaps we identify at Hindley cannot be bridged
by the prison on its own. They reflect the impoverishment of
regimes for 18 to 21-year-olds in our prisons as a whole.”
“Without more investment in education, employment, training and
resettlement, these young people will remain at high risk of
reoffending on release,” she added. “This is a matter that urgently
needs to be addressed by the government and the prison
Onley was inspected between 9 and 13 July last year, Hindley was
carried out in June last year.
The reports are available from www.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmipris/hmipris.htm