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Changes needed to bring Sudbury Prison up to scratch

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

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AN open prison has been slammed for failing in its role in resettling prisoners.

An inspection carried out at HMP Sudbury also found that its public protection arrangements were “not robust enough”.

The criticism comes in a report published today by Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, following an unannounced inspection at the site.

But Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, said a review of work required had been carried out and Sudbury would receive “additional resources” to manage problems that were uncovered.

Sudbury prison held 561 adult male category D prisoners at the time of the unannounced inspection, carried out from October 21 to November 1, 2013.

A third were coming to the end of life sentences or indeterminate sentences for public protection.

Most of the others were serving sentences of four years or more.

The report reads: “The central task of the prison therefore was to prepare these men for release by addressing their practical resettlement needs and reducing the risk that they would reoffend.

“The prison was failing badly in this central task and this impacted on all areas of its work.”

Inspectors were also concerned to find that the prison had focused its resettlement efforts on providing work experience for prisoners through release on temporary licence but there was little attempt to link the experience to jobs that might be available to a prisoner in his home area.

The report also said the offender management unit had a ‘low profile within the prison and some offender supervisors lacked adequate training”’

In addition, the inspectors found that the segregation unit was “cold, dirty, poorly ventilated and with filthy toilets in the cells.”

But the report stated that the inspectors were pleased to find the environment was ‘reasonable’ for most prisoners, that health care had improved significantly since the last inspection and that prisoners had “very good amounts of time out of their cells”.

Nick Hardwick said: “Open prisons have an important part to play in the prison estate as a whole and in delivering rehabilitation objectives.

“The weaknesses we identified at HMP Sudbury reflect the fact that its resources are very stretched and the demands and challenges in managing this population have been underestimated.

“Some of this requires reconsideration at a national level but this report identifies much that the prison can and should do itself.”

Michael Spurr said: “A review of work requirements has been completed and Sudbury will receive additional resources to ensure it is able to effectively manage its central task of preparing prisoners for release.

“Also reducing their risk of reoffending and protecting the public.”

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