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HMYOI Reading – Continues to improve

September 20, 2012, 8:30 am

HMYOI Reading had made further progress, which was commendable, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced short follow-up inspection of the young offender institution in Berkshire.

Reading prison, built in 1844, has had a number of roles and currently holds remanded and convicted young male adults. Its last inspection in 2009 established that the prison was performing reasonably well across all four healthy prison areas – safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
  • prisoners felt safe, and new arrivals received a full reception and first night service, even if they arrived late in the evening;
  • health services had made clear improvements to the environment and 24-hour nursing cover was in place;
  • the integrated drug treatment system (IDTS) had improved care, and there were now specialist staff and designated cells;
  • education and training were well managed, and good levels of achievement had been maintained and improved;
  • the number of activity places had been increased and the range of vocational training had been expanded;
  • resettlement and offender management work were in a state of transition, but the new model of case management and the extension of assessment and custody planning were positive;
  • most unsentenced prisoners were from the local area, which meant they could more easily receive domestic and legal visits; and
  • pre-release arrangements for prisoners were reasonable.
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:
  • although the use of special accommodation had reduced, prisoners were kept in the accommodation for lengthy periods with little reintegration planning;
  • personal officers were rarely involved with self-harm monitoring reviews;
  • cells designed for one prisoner continued to hold two; and
  • there were instances where staff had taken too long to answer cell call bells.
Nick Hardwick said: 

‘It is commendable that Reading continues to improve in spite of the dated infrastructure and buildings. Education and health care offer a good service, and if the resettlement plans deliver on their early promise, the outcomes for prisoners will continue to improve.’

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said: 
‘The Chief Inspector rightly recognises the commendable work going on at Reading, creating a positive and safe environment which challenges the young people to engage in education and training and to address their offending behaviour.
‘We are committed to providing prisoners with a strong resettlement programme and the Governor will ensure that work in this area continues apace.’

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