Brinsford Young Offenders Institution report shows failings

Brinsford Young Offenders Institution Almost 12% of inmates at Brinsford tested positive for cannabis, almost three times the target rate of 4.5%

Related Stories

A damning report into a young offenders institute near Wolverhampton has found violence levels too high, inefficient security and drug usage among inmates three times above target.

Brinsford Young Offenders Institution was visited in November.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said inspectors uncovered the worst overall findings since he took up his post in July 2010.

Prison bosses said a new governor had been appointed to address concerns.

'Seemed overwhelmed'

Mr Hardwick said Brinsford, which is next to two prisons - Oakwood and Featherstone - and holds young men aged between 18 and 21, had deteriorated in almost all respects since its last inspection in 2012.

"This is an establishment that needs significant improvement," he said.

"When we spoke to staff and managers they were aware of the problems but seemed overwhelmed, and they lacked a plan or the determination to begin to get to grips with what needed doing."

Start Quote

We found so much wrong with Brinsford that it is going to take time to improve”

End Quote Nick Hardwick Chief Inspector of Prisons

The report said structures to tackle bullying "lacked rigour" and said there was insufficient work or activity for inmates.

It highlighted "squalid" and "dirty" cells "unfit for occupation", covered in graffiti with window panes missing.

Almost 12% of inmates tested positive for cannabis, almost three times higher than the target of 4.5%.

But it praised health services and said they were "probably the best feature of the institution".

Mr Hardwick said: "We found so much wrong with Brinsford that it is going to take time to improve, but stronger leadership and capability from managers, along with a better approach and greater professionalism from staff, would be a start.

"It was appropriate that a new governor was appointed shortly after the inspection. He has made a vigorous start on making the necessary improvements but it is still very early days."

'Rapid progress'

National Offender Management Service chief executive Michael Spurr said Brinsford had a "challenging population" at the time of the inspection and was struggling to cope. He said performance had "deteriorated to an unacceptable level".

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said inspectors uncovered the worst overall findings since he took up his post in 2010

"Following the inspection we took immediate action to improve conditions," he said.

"A new governor was appointed and urgent work was done to improve safety, ensure decency and increase activity.

"The prison is now clean, safe, ordered and is operating to an acceptable standard.

"There is more to do to ensure this rapid progress is maintained and embedded but the governor has a clear strategy in place and has the full support of his staff. I am confident that when inspectors return they will see a much improved establishment."

However, Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said Brinsford should be immediately closed.

"The inspection of Brinsford prison reveals an unsafe, ineffective and violent institution that should be immediately closed," a statement said.

"Rather than locking up teenagers in squalid conditions, letting some out of their cells for just 10 minutes a day, the government needs to start to reconsider its policy of wasting public funds and young people's lives behind bars."

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

Min. Night 10 °C

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.