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Thorn Cross open prison praised by inspectors

HMP/YOI Thorn Cross Image copyright Google
Image caption Thorn Cross was given the highest judgement in four assessment areas - safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement

An open prison in Cheshire is well-led, with very good outcomes for prisoners and few violent incidents, according to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke.

HMP and YOI Thorn Cross in Warrington, which houses about 380 inmates, was inspected in October last year.

Inspectors found inmates were able to access good education and vocational training opportunities.

Support to help prisoners resettle back into communities was also rated good.

Food improvement urged

Nearly three-quarters of prisoners were aged 30 or over when it was inspected and the majority were serving sentences of more than four years.

Thorn Cross was given the highest judgement of "good" in four assessment areas: safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement.

A report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons also found:

  • Very few prisoners said they felt unsafe
  • Good support was provided for new arrivals
  • The number of prisoners at risk of self-harm was few, but those in crisis received adequate support
  • Security was proportionate
  • Drug and alcohol services were excellent
  • More work opportunities were available but underemployment was evident and pay rates were generally low
  • Staff-prisoner relationships were overwhelmingly positive but more could be done to promote equality
  • Food provision was very unpopular

Inspector Peter Clarke made some recommendations including: improving food quality, ensuring prisoners had access to basic items such as cleaning materials, developing the diversity and equality inclusion policy and making sure prisoners' pay did not disadvantage those attending learning courses.

He added: "We concluded our inspection at a time when the prison was about to change governors so faced a time of potential disruption.

"The prison, however, was on a firm footing and well placed for the future. Managers and staff were to be congratulated for their hard work and success."

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