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It is home to some of the most dangerous young offenders but today a damning report has criticised the Aylesbury Young Offenders Institution. It says the prison is unsafe, with high levels of violence and a shortage of staff.
- The Buckinghamshire unit can hold up to 444 young people between the ages of 18 and 21.
- At the time of the inspection, there were 377 prisoners.
- One in 3 are serving more than ten years or life behind bars.
- Concerns were raised over the levels of gangs and access to drugs
The Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons, Martin Lomas, says that Aylesbury has deteriorated and is failing to provide training and education for young offenders.
"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.
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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."
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