Sudbury prison 'failing inmates' report finds

HMP Sudbury HMP Sudbury was criticised for failing to prepare prisoners for release but praised for the variety of training

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An open prison is failing to prepare inmates for release or reduce reoffending, an inspection has found.

HMP Sudbury, in Derbyshire, houses about 560 prisoners, a third of whom are coming to the end of life or indeterminate sentences.

The report criticised its main role of preparing prisoners for release and said resources were "very stretched".

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) said the prison will get more resources to improve.

The unannounced inspection was carried out at the end of October when HM Inspectorate of Prisons visited the category D facility near Uttoxeter.

It followed a tightening of restrictions on temporary releases nationally after a number of high profile escapes.

Sudbury history

HMP Sudbury was built as a hospital for the US Air Force for the D-Day landings.

After the war it was converted to a prison.

Most of the original single storey accommodation is still in use but has been converted to double or single rooms.

It has a capacity for 581 prisoners in 213 single rooms and 175 double rooms.

Source: Ministry of Justice

The report made a number of criticisms including that it was struggling to manage with the increased workload because of the changes; supervisor caseloads were too high; inmates feared arbitrary return to closed conditions and the segregation unit was cold and dirty.

Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, said: "The weaknesses we identified at HMP Sudbury reflect the fact that its resources are very stretched and the demands and challenges in managing this population have been underestimated.

"Some of this requires reconsideration at a national level but this report identifies much that the prison can and should do itself."

But there was praise for the prison being a "reasonably safe place" considering the prisoners' frustrations; health care was improving; there were enough activities; and the range of training and quality of education was good.

Michael Spurr, chief executive of NOMS said: "A review of work requirements has been completed and Sudbury will receive additional resources to ensure it is able to effectively manage its central task of preparing prisoners for release, reducing their risk of reoffending and protecting the public."

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