Hope for £2.5m prison education centre

A PRISON governor is hoping that a £2.5m education centre to provide further training for teenage criminals will soon be given the go-ahead.The Youth Justice Board is considering plans for the centre on the sports field at Warren Hill closed prison, Hollesley, near Woodbridge.

A PRISON governor is hoping that a £2.5m education centre to provide further training for teenage criminals will soon be given the go-ahead.

The Youth Justice Board is considering plans for the centre on the sports field at Warren Hill closed prison, Hollesley, near Woodbridge.

A report published today by 17 inspectors after a five-day visit warned that they were "particularly concerned that no major capital funding had been made available to Warren Hill as part of its educational development plan."

The report, compiled by Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, said the absence of any capital projects at Warren Hill was surprising and new funding was essential for the prison to carry out its existing programme or meet new Youth Justice Board specifications.


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Stuart Robinson, governor at the prison for males aged 15 to 18, said the major investment would enable the prison to become like a further education college and this would benefit the inmates.

The report criticised the lack of enough activities to keep teenagers occupied during evening and weekend recreation periods.

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This was backed up by one prisoner yesterday who said inmates became bored and this could lead to trouble.

Mr Robinson said the space available in the association area was small and they were hoping to extend it outside on good weather evenings with temporary fencing. He added there was an incentive for prisoners to behave well, attain Gold status, and be allowed into the Juvenile Activity Centre where there were more activities.

This was the first report since 1996 and recently the prison was split into a separate establishment from the nearby Hollesley Bay open prison. Warren Hill had a serious disorder incident in 2000 and Mr Robinson said: ''From a low point when we had a major incident, a lot of threats and damage going on and control issues, we have made many changes since then which have been well received in this report.

''It is an excellent report for the establishment. We are not perfect and it highlights areas for development.''

Ms Owers complimented the extremely good relationship between staff and prisoners and she said the inspectors were impressed by the positive attitude taken by staff and their keenness to put forward new ideas and to take on new challenges.

"There were many aspects of Warren Hill's regime that provided a model for other juvenile establishments. Its training plan process was one of the best developed we have seen, with excellent links with families and Youth Offending Teams, proper preparation for the community element of the Detention and Training Order, and a very positive approach to release on temporary licence," she said.

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