Care of mentally ill at Feltham slammed by inspectors

Mentally ill young offenders at risk of self-harm were placed in “degrading” strip-clothing and supervised by untrained staff at Feltham young offender institution, an inspection has found.

A prison inspectorate report published today reveals inmates on suicide watch were placed under the care of agency staff “who did not engage with them at all,” many of whom lacked suitable training or qualifications.

The announced inspection, between 15 and 20 May, also found provision for physical illness “wholly inadequate”.

In one case, a young offender at Feltham Young Offender Institution waited six weeks before he was seen by a doctor despite being unable to move his injured finger.

The report found described the inpatient treatment centre as “little more than a store room,” and found one doctor had to move boxes off the examination couch before he could examine a patient.

It also raised concern that three-quarters of staff, including all nursing staff, had not received full child protection training.

The use of force by staff on inmates was found to be high compared to other YOIs, and almost one third of young adults reported being victimised by staff or other prisoners.

The report also found that the youngest offenders were not getting any exercise outdoors following a serious incident, and called for this to be reinstated.

Anne Owers, chief inspector of prisons said Feltham had become a “transit camp,” with sentenced young adults staying an average of just 11 days because of overcrowding.

She warned that the rapid movement of offenders “undermined” efforts to provide rehabilitation schemes such as mentoring and training.



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