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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Young offender team wins award
Ashfield Young Offenders Institution
The inmates are taught to look after their own health
Helping young criminals lead healthier lives has won staff at Ashfield Young Offenders' Institution near Bristol, a national award.

Staff say many of the 400 offenders arrive at the jail with little understanding of personal healthcare.

Nurses have teamed up with the prison's education department to install a sense of responsibility in the youths to look after their own health.

"Their self-confidence is improving," said Vicky O'Dea, Governor of Ashfield.

"They're eating better and concentrating so they're gaining qualifications so all those things are helping the lads live lawful lives on release," she added.

Young offender Nick
Nick says the prison has made him a different person
Members of Ashfield's health team also work on the prison's 'Stay Safe at Ashfield' policy, which holds discussions with inmates on topics such as self-harm and suicide prevention.

Smoking is banned for everyone including staff and a strict routine is in place for dental, psychiatric and personal health training.

"It's made me feel better in myself," said 18-year-old Nick who used to take drugs and is in Ashfield for committing street robberies.

"I'm a totally different person. Before I came to prison, what I had done were bad things that I would never wish upon my worse enemy and I never want to go back to that either," he said.

The team was presented with the Health team award at the national Public Servants of the Year Awards 2006 in London.

Watch the report

Ashfield 'reoffending rates high'
17 Feb 06 |  Bristol/Somerset
Drugs unit helps young offenders
19 May 05 |  Bristol/Somerset

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