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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Prison wins official praise
Northallerton Young Offenders Institution
The prison inspectors dropped in unannounced

A North Yorkshire prison criticised by inspectors two years ago has been commended for making huge improvements.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said much of the poor practice at Northallerton Young Offender Institution had been rectified.

But the inspection also highlighted a need to improve the way the jail helped to resettle offenders.

The prison, which first opened in 1783, processes young prisoners who are about to be released back into society.

Routine inspections are carried out every four years, but officials can drop in at anytime unannounced, which happened at Northallerton in January.

Previous reports had highlighted problems with bullying, poor sanitation and lack of exercise facilities.

Now inmates are able to shower everyday and have access to a modern gym.

Prison gym
Inmates now have access to a modern gym and showers

Acting governor Mark Howell said: "We have been making stringent efforts to improve our procedures.

"We are acutely aware that when we release prisoners back into the community we are putting them back in contact with the public.

"We are anxious to do all we can to make sure they don't reoffend and come back to prison, creating more victims."

Since the last inspection the prison has transformed from a remand centre to a young offender institution.

The prison currently houses 125 18-21 year-olds, for offences such as burglary, robbery and motoring convictions.

Offenders spend the last five to seven weeks of their sentences at Northallerton.

As well as the new gym facilities, they attend a job club, undertake computer training and literacy classes.




SEE ALSO:
Work pledge for young offenders
09 Apr 03  |  Berkshire
Youth crime scheme extended
31 Jan 03  |  England


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