Hollesley 'no holiday camp', says boss

DRUGS testing and security at Hollesley Bay prison are today under scrutiny after a government inspection highlighted weaknesses in both areas.The news comes as prison governor Michael Wood dismissed suggestions that he was in charge of a "holiday camp", saying labelling the jail "Holliday Bay" was unfair and demoralising.

DRUGS testing and security at Hollesley Bay prison are today under scrutiny after a government inspection highlighted weaknesses in both areas.

The news comes as prison governor Michael Wood dismissed suggestions that he was in charge of a "holiday camp", saying labelling the jail "Holliday Bay" was unfair and demoralising.

As revealed in yesterday's Evening Star, prison inspectors, who visited the site in December, said the prison was becoming home to more "demanding" inmates due to overcrowding in Britain's jails.

However, their report also highlights the smuggling of illicit items on to the site and "unacceptably low" levels of staff training in control and restraint techniques.

It states: "There had been a significant increase in the level of drugs and alcohol find within the establishment during the months preceding the inspection, and an increasing number of incidents at night in which prisoners had been found under the influence of either drugs or alcohol."

Governor Michael Wood said a number of new procedures had now been introduced and figures were decreasing: "Unfortunately drugs are a problem in society and, subsequently, they are an issue that we have to deal with.

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"We do have a robust strategy and, since the inspection, we have managed to secure funding for a drugs dog. We are very proactive with our searching and CCTV cameras have been strategically placed around the site."

Another of the report's main concerns is the sharing of a security department with neighbouring young offenders institute Warren Hill.

Mr Wood said additional funding had now been secured and a separate department would be introduced.

Areas that received praise in the report were the provision of education for prisoners, religious provision, healthcare and the work being done to help them settle back into society upon their release.

Today, six months on from the inspector's visit, Mr Wood says the prison is moving on: "Overall, I think it is a very positive report which recognises some of the sterling work that has been going on at Hollesley Bay.

"Clearly, there are some areas which need some additional work which we are now pursuing."

Commenting on the branding of the open unit as a holiday camp, Mr Wood said: "It is unfair not only to my staff members but also to the prisoners. "There is a lot of positive hard work going on here. It undermines what we are trying to do.

"It is demoralising. But as I say to my staff and the prisoners the people who matter know what hard work we are doing."

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