'Should alarm bells be ringing?': Campaigners respond to public safety concerns at Hollesley Bay

PUBLISHED: 19:30 05 March 2019

Faith Spear is concerned by the inspectors' report Picture: KJ SPEAR

Faith Spear is concerned by the inspectors' report Picture: KJ SPEAR

Copyright 2016 KJ Spear. This image may be used unmodified in print and online on strict condition the photo is credited as foll

Campaigners have reacted to public safety concerns raised at Hollesley Bay, following an inspection by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

Therese Coffey is seeking to meet with the Prisons Minister Picture: GREGG BROWNTherese Coffey is seeking to meet with the Prisons Minister Picture: GREGG BROWN

The prison was described as being ‘weak’ when it came to public protection despite being deemed generally very safe.

Inspectors were concerned that prisoners who posed a risk to children had not always been promptly assessed after arriving and that unassessed inmates had been allowed out on licence.

Around 20% of the jail’s population were deemed high risk, about 10% had been 
assessed as presenting a medium or high risk to children and more than half (58%) had been convicted of a violent or drug-related offence.

Criminologist, prison commentator and campaigner, Faith Spear, said: “It is worrying that there are many arriving at the prison without an up to date risk and needs assessment.

“There needs to be some serious changes before the planned arrival of those convicted of sex offences.”

“The latest Inspectorate report shows clearly that only 15 of the 30 recommendations from the previous inspection in 2014 have been carried out.

“Should alarm bells be ringing?”

MP for Suffolk Coastal Therese Coffey said that she was also troubled by the report.

Dr Coffey said: “It is concerning that so many potentially high risk prisoners are being moved into open conditions without a proper risk assessment having taken place.

“This practice needs to stop otherwise it undermines the trust of local communities and the wider population, who expect that rigorous process is followed.

“Whilst the report is clear that Hollesley Bay continues to deliver good outcomes for those who are detained, which is good news for their rehabilitation, I am more concerned about the protection of the public.

“I will, therefore, be seeking an urgent meeting with the Prisons Minister to ensure that changes are made.”

Responding to the report Michael Spurr, chief executive of Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service, welcomed the inspectors’ assessment of the prison.

He added: “The new Governor will develop this work further and the prison has already taken steps to improve public protection and implement the report’s recommendations.”

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