Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Offenders 'at risk' in youth jail

Werrington Young Offenders Institution
There is not enough accommodation to separate inmates, the report found

A Stoke-on-Trent young offenders institution (YOI) is putting young people at risk by not having enough flexible accommodation, a report said.

The Independent Monitoring Board volunteers, who monitor day-to-day life in prison, made the comment in its annual report about Werrington YOI.

It said there was not enough accommodation to separate opposing gang members, bullies and their victims.

However, the report said young inmates felt it to be a safe place.

The report said that as some people could not be separated they were being put "at risk" and staff "suffered from the stress of containing and managing some disruptive young people, without resource to alternative accommodation."

'Excellent relationship'

"Given the rising level of fights and assaults, we urge that solutions are sought for this ongoing difficulty at the earliest opportunity," the report said.

The board said it would be raising the accommodation issue with the Minister for Justice and the Youth Justice Board.

But the "excellent relationship" between staff and young people was praised.

Other issues to be raised with the Minister, the board said, include plans proposed by the Youth Justice Board for a new education block, better premises for healthcare and the provision an all-weather sports ground.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Ministers will consider the findings of the report and respond in due course."

He said it would respond by letter to the chair of the Independent Monitoring Board once the report had been studied.

He added that the report could, "certainly inform and influence the work of a prison."

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