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'High levels of violence' at Aylesbury Young Offenders Institute

"A dire, dangerous and disasterous prison." That's how inspectors have described Aylesbury Young Offenders Institute.

Levels of violence have increased and staff shortages have caused problems.

Managers say they're putting an action plan in place.

ITV Meridian spoke to Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons, Martin Lomas.

Damning report issued on Young Offenders Institution in Aylesbury

Credit: ITV news

A damning report on the Young Offenders Institution in Aylesbury has highlighted concerns about high levels of violence, a lack of purposeful activity and staff shortages. The report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons follows an unannounced inspection to the facility in Buckinghamshire.

HMYOI Aylesbury, a training prison, holds up to 444 young adult men aged 18 to 21 who are serving among the longest sentences for this age group in the country. Over 80% of those held are serving more than four years and 30% are serving more than 10 years to life.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

· Aylesbury was not safe enough: levels of violence were high and some incidents were serious;

· although some useful work was being done to address gang affiliations and to combat violence, much more needed to be done.

· the long periods of lock-up and inactivity most prisoners experienced caused frustrations that contributed to the likelihood of violence and aggression;

· the quality of the environment was mixed as was the quality of staff-prisoner relationships, undermined by the numbers of temporary staff;

· the management of learning and skills was weak, many classes and workshops were closed owing to staff shortages; and the quality of teaching needed improvement;

· staff shortages were undermining offender management with heavy caseloads, a backlog of risk assessments and some limited sentence planning.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that security was managed adequately and intelligence was managed well, but drug usage was double the target. Although the number of prisoners who had self-harmed was high and worse than in similar prisons, some prisoners spoke highly of the care staff provided. Offending behaviour work was impressive with some innovative and encouraging initiatives being introduced.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said: "The population at Aylesbury presents risks but it is reasonably stable. The purpose and function of the prison was clear but the prison was uncertain about how to deliver its core functions in a coherent and joined-up way. Trust was too limited and relationships unpredictable. There was too little to motivate young men, or to encourage their personal investment in their futures while at the prison."

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: "Staffing shortfalls have had a serious impact on the quality of the regime provided at Aylesbury. We are recruiting more staff and have put an action plan in place to address the recommendations made by the Chief Inspector in this report. The Governor will receive the support he needs to urgently improve the prison over the coming months."


TRAVEL - TRAINS: BUCKINGHAMSHIRE - Chiltern Railway - disruption between Aylesbury & Marylebone

Trains are not stopping at London Underground stations on Chiltern Railway between Aylesbury and Marylebone until 9.35am today because of industrial action industrial action.

The first train to call at all London Underground stations will be the 9:35am from Aylesbury and the 9:42am from London Marylebone.

The revised service on Chiltern Railway between Aylesbury and Marylebone means that before 9:30am, trains from Aylesbury will run via High Wycombe with two shuttles connecting passengers from Great Missenden to Aylesbury. From around approx 7:00am, services from Aylesbury will run non-stop from Great Missenden.

Wife saves husband's life after he falls into 50ft well

Couple glance down the well in their garden after near miss

A pensioner has been saved by his wife after falling into a well at their home in Aylesbury.

Seventy five year old John Ridgway dropped headfirst into the hole, but managed to cling on for dear life. His wife Eileen came outside to find his feet sticking up in the air. Kate Bunkall takes up the story.

Concern for missing teenager

Sanah Hussain was last seen in Aylesbury last night Credit: Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police is appealing for the public’s help in tracing a teenager missing from her home in Aylesbury.

Sanah Hussain, aged 17, was last seen at Weedon Road in Aylesbury at 10pm last night.

She is described as Asian, 5ft 6ins, medium build with very long black hair.

“We are extremely concerned for Sanah, this is very out of character for her to go missing like this. We would urge anyone who may have seen her or knows of her whereabouts to contact us as a matter of urgency so we can ensure she is safe. As well as Aylesbury, Sanah is also known to have links in High Wycombe and London.”

– Insp Chris Young


Missing teenager from Aylesbury

14-year-old Tommy Lewis was last seen on Monday afternoon Credit: Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police is appealing for the public’s help in tracing a teenage boy missing from his home in Aylesbury, but who may also be in Reading.

Tommy Lewis, aged, 14, was last seen at Aylesbury Railway Station at around 3pm on Monday when he said he was going to visit a friend in Reading. He was due back at home in Weedon at 9pm the same day but failed to return.

Tommy is described as white, slim, 5ft 3ins. He was wearing a large blue Puffa-style jacket, blue tracksuit bottoms, a white Polo Ralph Lauren T-shirt and Nike Air Max trainers in blue, white and black.

Officers are increasingly concerned for Tommy as he has been missing for more than 24 hours. It is believed he is as likely to be in Reading as Aylesbury and would urge anyone who knows him or his whereabouts to contact Thames Valley police via 101 as a matter of urgency.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote URN1581 24/11.

Absonder arrested after week on the run

Sabul Miah absconded from HMP Standford Hill last week Credit: Kent Police

A violent mugger jailed for life for preying on pensioners has been arrested after spending a week on the run from an open prison.

Sabul Miah, 39, absconded from HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent on October 23 but he was captured last night.

Kent Police said Miah - who was handed two life sentences in 2003 - was detained on the island on suspicion of failing to surrender to custody. Miah, originally from Poplar, east London, was jailed at Southwark Crown Court on August 7 2003 after admitting attacks on five victims.

He was originally charged with mugging 10 other pensioners, but the charges were not proceeded with and were left on the file.

One of his victims was decorated war hero George Rowe, whom Miah knifed in the chest and slashed his throat for his pension money. Another elderly victim, Sarah Munday, was stabbed in the hand by Miah after he tried to snatch her bag as she returned with her pension cash in Tower Hamlets.

The court heard that Miah had targeted the pensioners as an easy source of money to fund his crack and heroin drugs habit. Judge Geoffrey Rivlin said they were "heart-rending offences committed against some of the most vulnerable people in the community without the least sign of mercy".

HMP Standford Hill is the same Category D open jail from where Michael Wheatley absconded while on day release in May.

The prolific armed robber - dubbed the "Skull Cracker" for pistol-whipping bystanders during raids - went on to rob a building society in Surrey before being recaptured.

He was already serving 13 life sentences for a string of raids at the time of his disappearance, which triggered a nationwide manhunt.

Following his recapture, he was told he will serve at least 10 years behind bars before being eligible for parole. Wheatley's high-profile case sparked a political row over the day release of dangerous inmates amid criticism that arrangements were too lax.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservative MP Gordon Henderson said he has asked the Ministry of Justice a series of questions about Miah's case.

He demanded to know why a man handed two life sentences was transferred to an open jail and why the public were not immediately told of his disappearance.

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