Prison segregation cell branded 'bleak'
PRISONERS at risk of self-harm are being sent to a special segregation cell which inspectors labelled “unacceptably degrading and bleak”.HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has today published its report on the 361-inmate HMP Edmunds Hill at Stradishall, near Bury St Edmunds, following a visit there in October last year.
PRISONERS at risk of self-harm are being sent to a special segregation cell which inspectors labelled “unacceptably degrading and bleak”.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has today published its report on the 361-inmate HMP Edmunds Hill at Stradishall, near Bury St Edmunds, following a visit there in October last year.
Although inspectors found prison managers had managed a very challenging change of role from a women's to a men's prison, they also found more needed to be done in terms of combating bullying and managing those at risk of suicide and self-harm.
Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, said: “Overall, staff and managers at Edmunds Hill deserve credit for the successful management of a very challenging re-role.
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“In a short period of time they have put in place some of the basic building blocks for a safe and respectful prison.
“However, a number of systems and procedures require development and there is still a considerable distance to travel to establish Edmunds Hill as a fully effective and purposeful training prison, properly focused on resettlement.”
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One area highlighted by inspectors was the segregation cell used for those at risk of cell harm.
In her report, Mrs Owers said: “There had been only 17 incidents of self-harm in the previous six months. Since the prison had re-roled for male use 20 months earlier, there had been no self-inflicted death.
“Nonetheless, the prison had used the special cell in the segregation unit on 13 occasions in 2006. We had serious concerns about whether it had been necessary to use the cell so frequently. The conditions in this cell were unacceptable degrading and bleak.”
She also highlighted the lack of “structured interventions to challenge bullies or to support victims”.
Areas listed for praise at the jail included well managed security, a “calm, controlled and safe” atmosphere at the prison and the good handling of race relations.
Phil Wheatley, director general of HM Prisons Service said: “The chief inspector has recognised the hard work and dedication of the staff at Edmunds Hill. They deserve great praise for managing the re-role so well and running a safe and controlled regime.
“A new head of learning and skills has been appointed and work is underway to ensure that all men are actively employed for at least part of every day. Resettlement and sentence planning are also being improved.”