Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 25°C

min temp: 19°C

Search

Hollesley Bay: Open prison praised in independent report despite criticisms over escaped prisoners

08:55 06 May 2014

HM Prison Hollesley Bay.

HM Prison Hollesley Bay.

Archant

A Suffolk open prison facing scrutiny because a growing number of inmates have gone on the run has been praised for its improved performance in an independent report.

The Independent Monitoring Board described Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, as a “well-managed establishment” which provides a “safe, humane and decent environment” for prisoners in its annual report.

David Smith, chairman of the board, said the prison was meeting its target in equipping prisoners with the right tools to facilitate their progress in successfully integrating back in to society.

It comes after drugs, bullying and a prison population crisis were blamed for the number of Hollesley Bay inmates going on the run almost doubling in the past three years.

Last month, the EADT reported how 25 prisoners either absconded or did not return from approved leave in 2012/13, an increase from 13 in 2010/11.

The Ministry of Justice research prompted Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey to pledge to seek answers.

However, the independent report said: “The prison continues to be run in a professional and positive way, providing a range of opportunities for learning, training and work, with all prisoners engaging in purposeful activity unless excused for medical or age reasons.”

All 214 prisoners granted home leave at Christmas and during the New Year celebrations returned in line with their licence conditions, the report found.

“This demonstrates that prisoners are reasonably content with conditions at the prison, its safe and respectful nature and, perhaps, the excellent opportunities available to them at Hollesley Bay,” the report said.

It said 12 inmates absconded in the calendar year of 2013.

However, Mr Smith said that last year between 800 and 1,000 prisoners would have stayed at Hollesley Bay, which can hold up to 434 inmates.

“Twelve is still 12 more than one wishes, but it is down in the 1% region,” he said.

“I am not minimising it in any way. Absconding is wrong and is a crime. Those who feel they can just stroll around and think they will not be brought to justice feel the full force of the law upon them.

“My understanding is that almost all absconders are caught within a short space of time. They are charged and sent to a closed jail.”

The report found 797 prisoners out of 870 (92%) successfully completed an educational course, including bricklaying, plumbing, business enterprise, IT, mathematics and English.

There are also more than 100 placements for voluntary and paid work in the community for Hollesley Bay prisoners. Some obtained full or part-time work upon release following the Paid Working Out scheme.

Work including cleaning, general maintenance and driving is available to more than 300 prisoners each day, while “fine examples” of critical life-saving care was administered by prison staff and prisoners in a “number of instances”, the report said.

However, there were “hints” that bullying or related threats had prompted some prisoners to abscond, while concerns were raised over the incorrect deliveries of pharmacy supplies, a failure to properly utilise horticultural facilities and “unappetising baguettes” at lunch.

Mr Smith added: “We don’t just curl up and say everything is wonderful. We encourage them to make modest, small improvements. These are gauged when we visit almost every week and suggest changes.”

He urged anyone interested in becoming a member of the Independent Monitoring Board to call 01394 412435.

1 comment

  • This subject is obviously a hot potato at the moment but look at the stats. 214 granted Christmas and New Year home leave and all returned to complete their term. The term "absconded" is used a lot but in truth it should really be "failed to return after homeday release". Many prisoners are released on the early release system and then electronically tagged on an evening curfew system. Most of them keep to the curfew, knowing any breach will put them back inside. It is the few that buck the system that make the headlines.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The scene of police activity on St Matthews Street, Ipswich

Police who carried out a raid at an Ipswich town centre flat found it had been turned into a cannabis factory with more than 200 plants at different stages of growth, a court has heard.

Manningtree band Superglu

A band from north Essex will be headlining at stage at one of Britain’s biggest music festivals this weekend.

Great Eastern Rail Campaign members at Ipswich Station: 
Jonathan Denby, David Burch, Chris Starkie, Chloe Smith MP and Bun Gummer MP

In the second of five three-minute interviews Ben Gummer, the MP for Ipswich, gives his reaction to Abellio Greater Anglia being awarded the rail franchise for East Anglia.

Sydney Mini Market, Ipswich

Three establishments in Ipswich have been given one star food hygiene ratings after latest inspections.

What can you do with the kids in the last few days of the summer holidays?

There is just over one week left of the summer holidays but there is plenty still to do before the schools open their doors for a new term.

Ipswich Blue has proven to be one of the most popular of the sculptures

The much-loved and popular pig sculptures from the Pigs Gone Wild art trail will be going, going, gone at an auction soon.

The stretch of A12 at Seven hills

A tractor has shed its load of potatoes on the A1156 at Seven Hills this morning.

The summer sun will be good news for beachgoers this week

Suffolk is set for a scorcher of a week as temperatures are set to soar to 30C (86F).

Mugger hunted

Police are hunting a mugger who attacked a 75-year-old man in Felixstowe and stole his wallet.

The aftermath of a flare being let off during the Sky Bet Championship match at Portman Road.

Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Two men from Essex are to appear in court charged with breaching an order during the police operation for the Ipswich v Norwich game on Sunday.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24