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Portland YOI praised in new report from The Independent Monitoring Board
PORTLAND YOI has been praised for its resilience in the face of change but there’s still more to do according to a new report.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) is a group of volunteers who visit the HMP and YOI Portland on a regular basis to ensure proper standards of care and decency in the prison.
The annual report is for the year to March 31, 2013.
The report states: “The IMB is pleased to report that the board has been impressed by HMP/YOI Portland’s resilience in this period of change in the categorisation, financial stringency and disruption.
“The vast majority of prisoners now come from the south west, a significant change from two years ago and in 2013 adult prisoners were admitted for the first time.
“Adults now account for 50 per cent of the population of up to 530.
“This has led to an influx of drugs, where before the prison had not had a drugs problem of any significance.”
The report stated that the governor and his team had worked hard to implement the changes as seamlessly as possible.
But it also highlighted areas of concern including staff numbers being cut by 80 due to financial restrictions and that a new education provider had yet to make inroads into the ‘unsatisfactory’ numbers of prisoners locked up caused by cancellations of classes and workshops due to staff absence.
The report added: “The board is far from satisfied that the current policy of mixing young offenders and adult prisoners is beneficial, especially to the young offenders.”
Last week the ribbon was cut on the new education facility at the YOI, which aims to provide prisoners with qualifications which will lead to jobs in the real world.
Deputy governor at HMP and YOI Portland, Steve Hodson, said they had a good relationship with the IMB.
He said: “Overall we are pleased with the report. We do take on board some of the concerns they have got – that’s something we are already working on and will continue to look at.
“We are pleased they have recognised the huge amount of change the prison has gone through – both with the change in population and through the financial cuts.”
He added: “We are pleased they have recognised the changes that have already been made and the efforts made by staff and managers to meet these challenges and changes.”
Mr Hodson said they had no significant concerns about housing young offenders and adults on the same wing, but said that adults would not share cells with young offenders.
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