Lancaster Farms YOI failing to make sufficient improvements

A young offender institution criticised last year for failing to prevent the death of a boy is not making sufficient improvements, an inspection published today has found.

Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers said Lancaster Farms YOI was not providing a sufficiently purposeful, safe or decent environment and called for “fundamental changes” to be made.

The inspection, from 8-12 September 2008, which focused on young adult prisoners, found that support for vulnerable prisoners being monitored for self-harm was “limited” and the prison had been unable learn from two near-deaths in 2008.

Concerns over violence

It also raised concerns over high levels of violence and use of force against inmates. Time out of cell was “unacceptably low” and relationships between staff and prisoners were “distant and distrustful”.

Owers’ report comes just over a year after an inquest found the YOI missed opportunities to prevent the death of Gareth Price, 16, who was found hanging in his cell after self-harming in January 2005.

Death of Liam McManus

Price’s death was followed by the death of 15-year-old Liam McManus, also found hanging in his cell at the YOI November 2007. His inquest is yet to be heard.

In response to the inspection report, Michael Spurr, chief operating officer for the National Offender Management Service said the governor and staff at Lancaster Farms were working to address the concerns.

He said the YOI, which has become a dedicated site for young adults since the inspection, would introduce a new regime from April that would include increasing prisoners’ involvement in work and training.

Related articles

Prison Service: 15-year-old found dead at Lancaster Farms YOI

Gareth Price coroner tells agencies to correct errors

Agencies at fault over death of teenager Gareth Price


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