Leeds & West Yorkshire

Chickens have 'positive impact' on HMP Leeds inmates

Chickens Image copyright PA
Image caption The prison has about 50 free range chickens

A jail plagued by drugs and violence has been praised for helping prisoners by letting them care for chickens.

Eggs produced by the birds at HMP Leeds are used in the kitchen or sold to staff.

Inspectors said the initiative was having a positive impact and giving inmates "a sense of achievement".

But a report by Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said there was still extensive drug use and concerning levels of violence at the jail.

About 50 free range birds are kept in an outdoor area known as the Chicken Wing.

IMB chairman Barrie Meakin said the idea was for prisoners to learn about animal husbandry.

"It's a matter of looking after the chickens and keeping the place clean," he said.

"It's just another added activity, another interest."

Image copyright Mark Stevenson/Geograph
Image caption HMP Leeds is a category B prison more than 1,000 inmates

The report, which covers January to December 2018, said the prison had also introduced a small mushroom farm, with the produce sold to a commercial user.

It said another popular programme was the "fusion kitchen", where inmates were taught how to cook Asian food and that the prison hoped to open an Asian restaurant for staff to use.

But inspectors found the availability and use of new psychoactive substances at the jail posed "particular challenges".

They welcomed the introduction of a scanner and extra sniffer dogs to detect drugs as part of a Ministry of Justice scheme to boost security and standards at 10 jails.

The report said more also needed to be done to tackle the smuggling of mobile phones into the prison.

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

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