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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 06:45 GMT 07:45 UK
Prison praised despite problems
Lewes Prison
The report said there were problems with the age of the buildings
A prison in East Sussex has been praised in a new report despite problems with overcrowding and suicides.

The report by the chief prison inspector said Lewes Prison rated highly among other local prisons and it had become significantly better.

It highlighted the fact a suicide prevention co-ordinator had been appointed after five inmates committed suicide last year and another 40 attempted to kill themselves.

Staff and management were praised for improvements which had been made in the face of many difficulties.

'Unfit conditions'

These included old and poorly maintained buildings, a high proportion of inmates with mental health problems, and the effects of overcrowding.

The report also said the prison was aware of its gaps and weaknesses and had sought to remedy them.

Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, said: "Lewes seeks to work as an effective local prison, preparing prisoners for releases locally.

"But it is frustrated in this by the fact that those prisoners are routinely moved further away from home after short periods, because of the pressure of prison overcrowding.

"Prison overcrowding had also forced the prison to hold some prisoners in cramped and unfit conditions, particularly in one wing.

"It is therefore a tribute to the prison's staff and managers that in many areas covered by the report, Lewes scores significantly higher than most local prisons."

But the report did say improvements were needed with the work skills and education provided for inmates.




SEE ALSO:
Praise for private prisons
18 Jun 03  |  England
Leeds prison on overcrowding list
16 Jun 03  |  West Yorkshire


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