Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 17°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Hollesley Bay: Open prison praised in independent report despite criticisms over escaped prisoners

08:55 06 May 2014

HM Prison Hollesley Bay.

HM Prison Hollesley Bay.

Archant

A Suffolk open prison facing scrutiny because a growing number of inmates have gone on the run has been praised for its improved performance in an independent report.

shares

The Independent Monitoring Board described Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, as a “well-managed establishment” which provides a “safe, humane and decent environment” for prisoners in its annual report.

David Smith, chairman of the board, said the prison was meeting its target in equipping prisoners with the right tools to facilitate their progress in successfully integrating back in to society.

It comes after drugs, bullying and a prison population crisis were blamed for the number of Hollesley Bay inmates going on the run almost doubling in the past three years.

Last month, the EADT reported how 25 prisoners either absconded or did not return from approved leave in 2012/13, an increase from 13 in 2010/11.

The Ministry of Justice research prompted Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey to pledge to seek answers.

However, the independent report said: “The prison continues to be run in a professional and positive way, providing a range of opportunities for learning, training and work, with all prisoners engaging in purposeful activity unless excused for medical or age reasons.”

All 214 prisoners granted home leave at Christmas and during the New Year celebrations returned in line with their licence conditions, the report found.

“This demonstrates that prisoners are reasonably content with conditions at the prison, its safe and respectful nature and, perhaps, the excellent opportunities available to them at Hollesley Bay,” the report said.

It said 12 inmates absconded in the calendar year of 2013.

However, Mr Smith said that last year between 800 and 1,000 prisoners would have stayed at Hollesley Bay, which can hold up to 434 inmates.

“Twelve is still 12 more than one wishes, but it is down in the 1% region,” he said.

“I am not minimising it in any way. Absconding is wrong and is a crime. Those who feel they can just stroll around and think they will not be brought to justice feel the full force of the law upon them.

“My understanding is that almost all absconders are caught within a short space of time. They are charged and sent to a closed jail.”

The report found 797 prisoners out of 870 (92%) successfully completed an educational course, including bricklaying, plumbing, business enterprise, IT, mathematics and English.

There are also more than 100 placements for voluntary and paid work in the community for Hollesley Bay prisoners. Some obtained full or part-time work upon release following the Paid Working Out scheme.

Work including cleaning, general maintenance and driving is available to more than 300 prisoners each day, while “fine examples” of critical life-saving care was administered by prison staff and prisoners in a “number of instances”, the report said.

However, there were “hints” that bullying or related threats had prompted some prisoners to abscond, while concerns were raised over the incorrect deliveries of pharmacy supplies, a failure to properly utilise horticultural facilities and “unappetising baguettes” at lunch.

Mr Smith added: “We don’t just curl up and say everything is wonderful. We encourage them to make modest, small improvements. These are gauged when we visit almost every week and suggest changes.”

He urged anyone interested in becoming a member of the Independent Monitoring Board to call 01394 412435.

shares

1 comment

  • This subject is obviously a hot potato at the moment but look at the stats. 214 granted Christmas and New Year home leave and all returned to complete their term. The term "absconded" is used a lot but in truth it should really be "failed to return after homeday release". Many prisoners are released on the early release system and then electronically tagged on an evening curfew system. Most of them keep to the curfew, knowing any breach will put them back inside. It is the few that buck the system that make the headlines.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

An artist's impression of the new heritage centre.

A proposal to develop a new £17m heritage centre to hold most of Suffolk’s Records at Ipswich’s UCS campus is expected to be endorsed by the county’s cabinet next week.

A double lightining strike has hit and destroyed a house. Darren Hobson surveys the damage. Picture: Stephen Huntley.

A hero father-of-six who led his family to safety following a lightning strike to his home has praised his neighbours’ support.

Stuart Cullen, from the Lowestoft area, who died in the terrorist attack in Tunisia.

The family of a man who died in the Tunisian massacre have paid tribute to their “third musketeer”.

Joy Poppy, aged 82, who died following a collision in Woodbridge on July 1

Mrs Poppy died after a collision in New Street, Woodbridge, on Wednesday.

Libby Brown headteacher at Kyson Primary, Woodbridge.

A board of school governors has launched a fierce attack on Suffolk County Council after their headteacher had to stop work for seven weeks.

BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy with one of the Scamnesty bids

A Suffolk Trading Standards Scamnesty campaign is using special bins across the county in a bid to snare unscrupulous conmen.

Police in Ipswich are investigating a number of incidents where eggs were thrown at people and buildings in the town.

The Coffee House team

Every month Gina Long marvels at the sterling charity work undertaken in our glorious county.

Jean's aunts Lily and Ethel. 'Lily was blunt-spoken, much like her mother (Retta), whereas Ethel was a real little madam'

Jean Keevil loved her childhood in Bath Street, though is sad the area has changed

Cedar House, Pytches Road, Melton - set to have ten new homes in its grounds.

Developers who have bought a prime site on the edge of Woodbridge from the district council expect to submit proposals to create new homes next month.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages