Suffolk

Hollesley Bay open prison inspection shows 'progress'

Inspectors say Hollesley Bay open prison in Suffolk has shown "sufficient progress" since their visit in 2009.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons found the majority of their recommendations had been achieved.

These included an end to routine strip-searching on arrival, a lower rate of positive drug tests and improvements in "purposeful activity".

However, work needed to be done in race equality and allowing work placements further from the prison.

Inspectors went back to the prison near Woodbridge for an unannounced visit over three days in January.

Nick Hardwick, HM chief inspector of prisons, said: "Hollesley Bay had built on the strengths observed in our previous inspection."

'Negative attitude'

Of the 83 recommendations that were made in 2009, they found 55 had been achieved, 15 partially achieved and 13 not achieved.

Health care and the provision of vocational training places were praised in the new report, but a race equality officer needed to be appointed from outside to look at improving diversity policy and to scrutinise complaints of racism.

There were concerns that "prisoners were unanimous that a few staff showed a consistently negative attitude towards them".

The prison is being asked to look at relaxing restrictions which only allow convicts to do vocational work within 40 miles of Hollesley so that they could work in their home areas further afield.

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, which runs prisons in England and Wales, said: "I am pleased that the chief inspector has highlighted the strengths and progress being made at Hollesley Bay.

"By focussing on safety, reducing substance misuse and maintaining purposeful activity, staff are contributing to the resettlement of prisoners and to reducing the chance that they will re-offend on release."

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