Deerbolt Young Offenders Institution 'mainly safe'

A youth jail in County Durham is fundamentally safe but work is needed to reduce violence and improve discipline, a report has found.

Deerbolt Young Offenders Institution at Barnard Castle was assessed in June by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons.

It found that staff had worked hard to get the facility, which houses a "challenging population", back on track after a serious disturbance in 2007.

An action plan will now address areas of concern highlighted by the report.

These included the need to reduce the level of recorded violence and a high use of force, often for minor incidents

'Effective regime'

Chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, said that overall it was a "reasonably good report", but there were some "quite cogent criticisms".

He said: "Prisoners are generally treated decently but access to showers and clothing arrangements need improvement.

"The quality of the regime was generally good, but take-up of activity places and time out of cell were inadequate.

"Resettlement work was adequate, but required better coordination and strategic focus."

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, said Deerbolt had a "challenging population" but he was pleased it was seen as "fundamentally safe, with good self-harm management, constructive staff-prisoner relationships and effective vocational training, education and resettlement provision".

The governor and her staff would develop an action plan to address the areas of concern identified with the aim of ensuring Deerbolt continued to provide "an effective regime which protects the public and reduces the risk of reoffending".

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