Inspectors give mixed verdicts on institutions

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.

In his report, based on a review of the prison in November,
Ramsbotham 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 is 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, 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 there were 717
reported injuries to children and young prisoners, from a variety
of causes, during an eight-month period at Stoke Heath.

Commenting on the 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 particularly praised for a regime which
“allowed young men to mature”.

HMYOI Swinfen Hall and HMYOI Stoke Heath inspection reports from
020 7273 3702.

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