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Staff attacks on the up at Portland prison as new report reveals statistics
ATTACK INCREASE: A new report has highlighted the level of violence against staff at the YOI on Portland
THERE has been an increase in the number of attacks on staff by inmates at a Portland prison, according to a new report.
A report into HM YOI Portland has found raised several ‘areas of concern’ at the prison but also highlighted a number of ‘positive developments’.
The report stated: “Violence amongst prisoners and against staff increased in the number of incidents and in the level of seriousness and injuries caused compared with the previous year.”
But it stated police responded to these incidents ‘much more quickly and actively’ than between April 2011-March 2012, and initiatives and education programmes gave prisoners the ‘ability to modify their behaviour’ to progress towards aims such as literacy or certificates to enable them to find employment outside.
The Independent Monitoring Board has just published a report into their findings for the year until March 31, 2012.
Her Majesty’s Prison and Young Offender Institution Portland accepts both adults and young offenders. Highlighting a number of positive and ‘of concern’ areas the report stated it had been a ‘year of transition’ for the YOI, with new governor Russ Trent being appointed in the autumn of 2011.
The positive developments highlighted the increase in the number of prisoners released on temporary licence, the addition of a rugby academy and greater focus on gym courses. Other positive areas included: a good prisoner perception survey, better care of disabled prisoners and production of vegetables in the allotments.
The report also stated that a course run by Railtrack and a horsemanship scheme had also been beneficial. It said: “Empathising with horses and attuning to their intelligence and sensitivities helped prisoners with anger management.”
The report indicated the areas ‘of concern’ were: the reduction in size of the Safer Custody Team, that many workshops and education hours were not delivered by contractors and single cells that have been converted as doubles had ‘inadequate’ space.
Cells ‘comply with ministry of justice regulations’
GOVERNOR at HM YOI Russ Trent said since the report had been produced that many changes had been implemented.
He said: “It has been nine months since the report, we have embraced what the IMB said and the staff have worked incredibly hard to implement the improvements.”
Mr Trent said that since the report the Safer Custody Team had been increased in size.
He added: “We have had really positive inroads into violence reduction.”
A new education provider has been appointed to take over and in April a new education building will be opened.
Answering the IMB’s report where it stated that three wings had ‘20 single cells converted into doubles without adequate space,’ Mr Trent said: “They comply with the Ministry of Justice regulations. I ensure all prisoners are held in decent conditions.”
He added that the football and rugby academies had started.
He said: “There are lots and lots of sports activities at the moment and this is contributing to a reduction in violence.”