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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Concerns raised over youth jail
Stoke Heath YOI
Stoke Heath YOI has a "volatile population"
Prison inspectors have criticised a young offenders institute in Shropshire for failing to make improvements.

The report into Stoke Heath YOI released on Wednesday found strip searches were still taking place without proper risk assessments.

And the institution must refurbish its "unacceptably grubby" segregation unit, HM Inspectorate of Prisons said.

Governor Teresa Clarke said the criticism was justified, and that work was under way to address the problems.

Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, said there had been "disappointingly little improvement" at the YOI near Market Drayton, which has capacity for 690 inmates.

Bullying and violence

"Stoke Heath continued to struggle under the combined weight of its complex split site, differential resources, volatile population, historic under investment and, latterly, fractious industrial relations," she said.

The unannounced follow-up inspection came after the last full review of conditions in January 2005 and highlighted a number of safety concerns.

Reception facilities and processes remained poor, strip searches were carried out without enough checks and moves to stop bullying and violence were confused, the report found.

There were some areas that were criticised quite justifiably
Teresa Clarke, Stoke Heath governor

Inspectors also said the quality of cleanliness was varied, staff-inmate relationships were mixed and too many juveniles remained locked in their cells without "purposeful" activities.

But the report said the quality of learning had improved, child protection arrangements remained good and there had been more emphasis on resettling inmates since the last inspection.

Ms Clarke said: "There were some areas that were criticised quite justifiably. We will be tackling everything they have raised with us."

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "Dealing with a volatile population is never easy. It is time for a major rethink of our approach to children and young people who offend."

In October 2006 five prison officers were injured during a nine-hour riot at Stoke Heath.

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