Shrewsbury Prison sex offenders system criticised

A prison's system for assessing high-risk sex offenders and managing their sentences lacks direction and coordination, inspectors said.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said too little was being done to address the risks of Shrewsbury Prison sex offenders, despite the fact "a significant number" were in denial.

But in publishing a report, Mr Hardwick said it was good "in many areas".

The National Offender Management Service said staff were working hard.

HMP Shrewsbury became a category C training prison for vulnerable prisoners in January 2010 and held 333 inmates, most of whom were sex offenders, at the time of an inspection in September.

'Urgent attention'

Mr Hardwick said it was "a generally good report that reflects a safe and respectful institution".

He added: "The regime is much improved and is more appropriate to the institution's purpose, although more needs to be done.

"The key role of reducing the risk of reoffending among a potentially high-risk group, however, requires urgent attention."

It was disturbing that in a prison holding so many sex offenders "systems to assess individual risk or supervise and manage sentences were so lacklustre", Mr Hardwick added.

He said: "There was no effective analysis of prisoner need and the prison's approach lacked direction, coordination and governance."

'In transition'

Chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service Michael Spurr said the governor and his staff were working hard "to address the areas where the inspector found that improvement was required, including offender management and resettlement".

He said: "This is a generally good report on a prison which was in transition during the inspection.

"Given the age of the prison and the cramped conditions, I am particularly pleased about the positive comments about the levels of safety and respect at Shrewsbury.

"Shrewsbury is already adapting quickly to its new role and preventing re-offending and protecting the public will continue to be at the core of its work."

Mr Spurr, from the service which manages the prison service, said he was also pleased that inspectors found that "healthcare was impressive" and improvements in the regime and the learning and skills provision were welcome.

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