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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Praise for improvements at prison
Swaleside Prison
More than half the inmates at Swaleside are serving life sentences
A Kent jail housing Category B inmates has been praised by the Chief Inspector of Prisons for its greatly improved living conditions and atmosphere.

However, Anne Owers said more still needed to be done to improve Swaleside Prison on the Isle of Sheppey and too many inmates had too little to do.

The prison has nearly 800 offenders serving life or long term sentences.

Governor Stephen O'Connell said the key to the jail's success was in providing a "decent, safe, secure establishment".

'Relations good'

Ms Owers carried out an unplanned inspection of the jail in January and said although it had greatly improved since the last visit there was a need for better plans and programmes to address re-offending.

Mr O'Connell, who only took over the running of the jail in February, explained that a lot of prisoners had found themselves without a job within the prison because a number of private contracts had abruptly ended.

Full employment was his aim by the end of the year, he said, and new contracts with other private companies were already being negotiated.

Ms Owers also highlighted a need for better inmate plans and training programmes, which the prison said had been hindered by staff shortages and a backlog in processing sentence plans.

She also said anti-bullying measures were under-developed and race relations needed further attention.

But her report said relations between staff and prisoners were good and security was well-managed.


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