HMP Dorchester criticised by inspectors

A small Victorian prison in Dorset has been criticised following an unannounced inspection.

HM prisons inspectors found overcrowding at HMP Dorchester and that staff were complacent about prisoner safety during their visit in July.

A full inspection was carried out in 2009 and 17 recommendations were made.

Eight had not been achieved but overall the report concluded that the prison was safe with excellent staff-prisoner relationships.

Inspectors said: "HMP Dorchester has responded positively to some key findings from our last inspection but there are some enduring concerns."

'Insufficient progress'

The 250 prisoners were only allowed out of their cells for an average of 5.7 hours a day during the week - significantly below the expected 10 hours a day.

In the main inspection areas of respect, purposeful activity and resettlement they found that the prison was making sufficient progress against the 2009 recommendations.

But the short follow-up inspection found it was making "insufficient progress" in the area of safety.

The inspectors' report said there was "still no analysis of trends or patterns in violent incidents" reported at safety meetings, which were poorly attended.

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