Report slams strip searches at prison

The prisons inspector has criticised the use of force on young people who refuse to be strip searched at Huntercombe Young
Offender Institution.

In a report this week, chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers said the Oxfordshire prison had made some progress since a 2001 inspection but criticised the management of bullying and suicide prevention.

Inspectors commended the “excellent” service provided by caseworkers, saying the mental health provision was the best they had seen in a YOI.

But the report said cleanliness was unacceptable and Owers reiterated her observation of 2001 that Huntercombe, which holds 360 young men, had to be reduced in size, refurbished or rebuilt to improve its safety.

Meanwhile, a report by the Howard League for Penal Reform has revealed high levels of emotional distress among the siblings of young people taken into custody. And figures from the National Offender Management Service show the number of children and young people in custody on 31 August was 3,030, up from 2,991 a year earlier.

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