South East Wales

Parc prison: Bridgend young offenders' unit is 'safe'

HMP Parc Prison
Image caption HMP Par Prison in Bridgend is Wales' only privately run prison

Inspectors say Wales' only unit for young offenders is "generally good", but should review of some "disproportionate" security measures.

The report on Parc Prison in Bridgend found that the unit felt safe and there were "sound processes" for dealing with bullying and self-harm.

But there were concerns about a policy of automatically strip-searching all new arrivals.

The unit is part of the only privately operated prison in Wales, run by G4S.

At the time of the latest announced inspections at HMP Parc, the unit held 50 young people, mostly aged between 16 and 17.

"It provides a safe and decent environment and generally prepares young people well for release. It is important that this facility is available in Wales for young people from Wales," said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons.

'Decent environment'

The inspectors said they found that few young people held at the unit felt unsafe, its small size was good for relationships between staff and offenders, and education and training at the unit was also good.

But the report also flagged concerns, including strip-searching of new arrivals. Inspectors said they were also unhappy to discover the young offenders were transported to the unit with adult prisoners, and there were limited opportunities to be released on a temporary licence to work in the community.

"The unit's potential would be increased by the removal of some disproportionate security measures imposed on it and a greater opportunity for young people to gain work experience through release on temporary licence," added the chief inspector.

Responding to the inspection findings, Jerry Petherick, G4S managing director for custodial services said: "We are delighted that the young people's unit in HMP & YOI Parc has been recognised as providing a safe and decent environment for the young people we care for and compares well with similar establishments.

"We will produce an action plan to address any recommendations from the inspection."

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