Hollesley Bay prison: Inmates not assessed before visits home

HMP Hollesley Bay
Image caption HMP Hollesley Bay is an open prison on the Suffolk coast near Woodbridge

Inmates at an open prison who were a potential risk to children have been allowed into the community without restrictions, a watchdog found.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons said inmates were not always promptly assessed on arrival at HMP Hollesley Bay, Suffolk.

Eight inmates' risk assessments were incomplete and two of them had visited family overnight, inspectors found.

But overall the prison was found to be "very safe", with "good" or "reasonably good" outcomes for inmates.

The report says prisoners will often be released on a temporary licence and assessments need to be carried out.

Public protection concern

Chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke said: "In contrast to much that was happening in the prison, public protection work was not good enough."

Although public protection measures were weak systemically, at an individual casework level some of these shortcomings were mitigated, the report noted.

It recommended prisoners should only be transferred to open conditions once a full and up-to-date assessment of their risk and needs had been carried out.

Mr Clarke also said there was "much more work to do" on plans for the establishment to take sex offenders.

The report said drug misuse at the prison had increased substantially.

A local analysis identified that prisoners had moved away from new psychoactive substances, with cannabis now the preferred drug, while the use of cocaine and steroids was an "emerging problem".

Michael Spurr, chief executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, said the "prison has already taken steps to improve public protection and implement the report's recommendations".

Hollesley Bay is a category D open resettlement prison. At the time of the inspection, in October, it held 470 prisoners.

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