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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Raided prison 'performing well'
Blantyre Prison
A raid was carried out by 84 officers at the prison in May 2000
The first report into Blantyre House Prison in Kent since a controversial raid there three years ago has said it is performing well.

An unannounced inspection was carried out at the prison, near the village of Goudhurst, in January 2003.

The report praises the sentence planning process, the links into employment and the successful use of release on temporary licence at the prison.

The centre was re-designated as a semi-open resettlement prison in 2001.

The trust and respect between staff and prisoners was also praised.

Overall Blantyre House provides a safe and positive environment
Anne Owers, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons

But the report said better use could be made of the first six months when prisoners are not allowed to work outside the prison.

A controversial late-night raid was carried out at Blantyre House in May 2000 by 84 officers from other prisons.

A total of 6,000 damage was caused in an operation which cost more than 20,000.

The raid was ordered after intelligence was received about possible security breaches by prisoners.

But the team which stormed the prison only found a small quantity of cannabis, three ecstasy pills and a few items of pornography.

'Positive environment'

The raid was condemned by a cross-party group of MPs.

In a statement on Friday, chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers acknowledged the prison's controversial history.

She said: "Resettlement prisons are rare resources within the prison system, and this inspectorate has always been concerned that they should be used effectively to provide prisoners with the best possible bridge between imprisonment and the community.

"The report shows that Blantyre House is responding well to these challenges in many areas.

"Overall Blantyre House provides a safe and positive environment."

The director general of the Prison Service Phil Wheatley said the governor, Chris Bartlett, and his staff could be proud of their achievements.

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16 Nov 00  |  UK News

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