Board cuts number of young people held at crisis hit institution

The Youth Justice Board is to deal with a crisis at the
privately-run Ashfield young offenders institution by severely
cutting the number of young people held there, writes
Amy Taylor.

During this year the number of places will be cut from 212 to
just 40, and it had already been reduced from just over 300.

The move coincides with a new report from the chief inspector of
prisons Anne Owers, who described her inspection as one of the most
depressing she has carried out.

Bullying was a major problem that made many children afraid to
leave their cells, and staff were not experienced or skilled enough
and management support was lacking, Owers said.

The Prison Service had temporarily taken over the direct
management of Ashfield from Premier Prison Services, a private
company, recently due to the problems at the institution. The
report recognises that as a result of this conditions were starting
to improve.

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