Work to improve a prison, once branded one of the worst in Britain, has been praised in a new report.
The independent report has praised the management of the prison
The Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB) report on Chelmsford Prison praised the new governor Nigel Smith for his work to make it a "first-class prison".
A report in 2003 expressed concerns about the prison and in 1999 it was called "dreadful" with "unacceptably bad" conditions of cleanliness.
The 2006 report highlights areas where improvements are still needed.
In the report, Tim Fox, chairman of the IMB at Chelmsford, says the board was particularly impressed by:
The computer workshop "staffed by enthusiasts"
Outstanding work developing a reading scheme using peer education supported by prison staff
The introduction of a resettlement clinic for prisoners with three weeks left to serve on their sentence.
But the report also highlights problems that need addressing including:
The deteriorating Georgian accommodation and education blocks
Overcrowding and "doubling up" in cells
A high proportion of prisoners with serious mental health problems