Institution praised despite relapse

Inspectors have praised a young offender institution in Wales for developing a “perceptible” child-centred culture “rarely achieved” in other units.

The juvenile unit at Parc Prison in Bridgend, which also holds adult prisoners, was well run and focused on the needs of young people, according to a report from the chief inspector of prisons, Anne Owers.

But she found that the prison had “slipped backwards” overall since its previous inspection.

The juvenile unit was also under-occupied, even though Welsh young offenders are regularly sent to YOIs in England.

Owers said the Youth Justice Board should ensure young people from Wales were not placed in England if there were places available at Parc, which is operated by private company Group 4 Securicor.

She said relationships between staff and young people at Parc were good and that the atmosphere during evening association was “friendly and relaxed”.

However, juveniles were routinely strip-searched, sometimes forcibly, when they arrived at the unit.

The report was published days after the Prison Reform Trust claimed some young offender institutions were among 27 prisons in England and Wales operating beyond their safe overcrowding limits.

Home Office figures show that the number of people in prison in England and Wales rose 2 per cent from June 2005 to June 2006 to 78,454.

This includes nearly 3,000 juveniles and more than 4,600 females.

Additional reading
Parc inspection
Home Office prison population figures

Further information
Youth Justice Board
Prison Reform Trust

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