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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
'Concern' over prison budget cuts
Haverigg Prison, Cumbria
More than 550 inmates are housed at Haverigg prison
Cost cutting at a Cumbria jail is threatening to cause "serious problems", according to an independent report.

The constant search for savings at Haverigg prison near Millom is making it difficult for staff to do their job, says the report by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

The jail, which houses more than 550 inmates, is praised for it rehabilitation techniques by board members.

But there is a warning that budget cuts are putting prisoner services under threat.

In its report, the board raises "particular concerns" about some of the prisoners sent to the Category C jail.

It argues that not all inmates take to the billet style accommodation and relative freedom.

The report says that the constant pressure to make savings could well "begin to fail the prisoners".

The IMB is made up of unpaid volunteers who provide a "watchdog" role on behalf of government ministers.

Wartime buildings

In 1999 the prison was the scene of a serious riot, in which more than 200 inmates caused 1m of damage.

The Governor of Garth jail, near Preston, was brought in to run the site for a time.

Haverigg was opened in 1967 on the site of a former RAF airfield.

Many of the wartime buildings remain in use as workshops and office accommodation.

Between 1997 and 1999 a major renovation of the water mains and sewage system was completed and new gates installed.

The prison is the largest employer in the area and is the only prison in Cumbria.

It draws most of its prisoners from Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and Tyneside.

Most prisoners are accommodated in single rooms, with only a small number having to double up.

The Prison Service is considering the report.

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