Report praises prison
A SUFFOLK prison for young offenders has been praised for being well run in a new report – but concerns have been raised about the risk of new inmates self-harming.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of Warren Hill Prison carried out an inspection of the venue and released their findings in their annual report.
The prison, which houses 230 inmates aged between 15 and 17, has faced investigations in recent years after incidents of unrest.
The IMB described the prison environment as “challenging” and “difficult to run” but praised staff for taking steps to make it more effective.
Colin Reid, chairman of the IMB, said: “The staff work hard and show much care and practical concern for the boys.
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“Nevertheless we are worried that 15 to 17-year-old boys arriving in the prison for the first time are at risk because for their first night they are housed alongside those who are being punished for bad behaviour.
“Experience shows that the first night is when a young person is most likely to commit self-harm. A new building is planned but we are worried that it may be cancelled in the next round of government cuts.”
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The IMB’s report also raised concern about the lack of external support for inmates with mental health problems and others who are foreign nationals who speak little English.
The IMB added that was imperative that the Carlford Unit, a national resource which provides for serious young offenders, continues to be adequately resourced when it moves to a new building on the main site in the spring of 2011.
However, the report praised a parenting course for boys at the prison who are about to become fathers.
In January last year police were called to the prison after two inmates got onto a roof and in May 2008 a protest by a small group of inmates was ended peacefully.
Warren Hill opened in 1982 to accommodate Category C young offenders in a closed environment.
It was part of Hollesley Bay Colony, which also included an open youth custody and detention centre. In 1992 the open unit was adapted to accommodate adult category D offenders.
In April 2002 – though retaining some shared services – HMP and YOI Hollesley Bay became two separate prisons.