Positive report lauds Hollesley Bay open prison’s education provision as ‘outstanding’

Hollesley Bay prisoners taking part in brick laying training.

Hollesley Bay prisoners taking part in brick laying training. - Credit: Archant

Education and vocational training provided for prisoners at Hollesley Bay open prison has been praised as “outstanding” in a report by HM Inspector of Prisons.

The findings show a turnaround from the criticism it received last September at a meeting of the Parliamentary Justice Select Committee, where the jail was lambasted for failing to allow literate inmates to help other prisoners to read and write.

Former inmate Jonathan Robinson, an advocate for prison reform since his release, blamed education provider A4e. He served a majority of the 15-month jail term he was given in 2011 for theft by employee at Hollesley Bay.

Today’s report is the product of an unannounced inspection between August 26 and September 5 last year. It states: “The education and vocational training provision provided by A4e was outstanding.”

Mr Robinson said: “I’m really, really pleased things have improved. I’m delighted with that.”

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Overall, Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, said Hollesley Bay was a successful open prison which had risen to most of the challenges it had faced.

Inspectors found it remained very safe, with very few incidents of bullying and violence. The challenges around illicit drugs and alcohol were well managed and most of the living accommodation was in good condition.

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They also said relationships between staff and prisoners were very strong and the overall atmosphere was focused on resettlement.

However, inspectors did express some concerns, including the fact that despite managers responding to previous recommendations about keeping a focus on diversity issues, more than a third of black and minority ethnic prisoners reported they had been victimised and the issue needed to be addressed.

Mr Hardwick said: “Hollesley Bay remained an impressive open prison from which other similar establishments could learn.”

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