Hollesley: Watchdog praises Warren Hill prison for its good progress - but warns some concerns still remain

A PRISON watchdog has praised a young offenders institute for its good progress - but warned that some concerns still remain.

The annual report of the Independent Monitoring Board of Warren Hill, which is based at Hollesley near Woodbridge, is largely positive.

Chairman Penny Creasy said on the whole there had been good progress over the last 12 months - but there were still concerns about the lack of work being carried out to help boys deal with their offending behaviour.

“We are very pleased with both the new facilities and the spirit of openness within the prison, which is a testament to the hard work of the dedicated team at Warren Hill,” she said. “The Board is concerned about the lack of programmes to help boys confront and deal with their offending behaviour.

“On the whole, we have seen good progress over the last twelve months in the work to ensure that the boys are treated with fairness and decency and that the requisite steps are in place to ensure that they are able to return to the community to fulfil their role in society.”

The report said Warren Hill, which is a prison for boys aged 15 to 17, is very well governed, that the atmosphere is positive and relationships between staff and the boys is much improved and generally good.

In the last 12 months a building which houses a new induction unit, reception area and healthcare suites has also been opened.

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Meanwhile two units put out of action by a concerted act of indiscipline in November 2010 have also reopened. However the Board said it regretted the closure of the independently located Carlford Unit, which “provided very well” for serious offenders. It has been replaced by the Waveney unit, which is also housed in the new building. The Board said the transfer from Carlford was “successfully and smoothly” achieved, and the boys now have access to a wider educational curriculum.

The volunteer board members, who come from a range of backgrounds and are appointed by the Ministry of Justice, visited the prison 317 times between June 1, 2011 and May 31 this year.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said Warren Hill is already working to address the concerns raised so the root causes of offending behaviour can be tackled. “We will respond to the Board in due course,” she added.