Leeds & West Yorkshire

Wetherby Young Offender Institution has "deteriorated" report says

Wetherby HMYOI Image copyright Google
Image caption The unannounced visit from HM Inspectorate of Prisons was in February.

A young offenders institution once praised for running a "model" unit for vulnerable inmates has "deteriorated in some areas", inspectors have said.

The report on HMYOI Wetherby followed an unannounced visit from HM Inspectorate of Prisons in February.

The chief inspector said the specialist Keppel unit was failing to deliver the education that had been "its hallmark".

Michael Spurr, of the National Offender Management Service, said changes had introduced a "more flexible regime".

Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, said training and education had deteriorated and the lack of proper recording made it impossible to be sure there were not serious failing in other areas.

About 300 documents were missing at the inspection, making it impossible to determine the level and extent of the use of force.

Levels of violence on both boys and staff had risen and were high.

The previous inspection in January 2015 made 21 recommendations about safety, but it was found only one had been fully achieved.

The recent inspection had found most communal areas and cells were clean and well maintained and health services were good, with inspectors finding "much that is positive" about Wetherby YOI and the Keppel unit.

The unit, a separate, national facility within the YOI, provided for some of the most challenging and vulnerable young people in the country, said the inspectorate.

Previous inspections described it as a "model of how a specialist unit should be run", the report said.

Mr Spurr said "A new safeguarding team has been put in place and a new governance structure set up to make sure all recording processes are monitored."

He said the inspectors had found "very good examples of positive work" by staff.

The YOI held 272 boys aged between 15 and 18 when inspected and was not overcrowded.

Colin Allars of the Youth Justice Board, the body which ensures that services within YOIs are up to scratch, said he was disappointed by aspects of the report.

He added: "We understand the operational challenges facing YOIs, and the difficulty Wetherby and the Keppel Unit have in order to deliver a timetable which fully meets requirements.

"National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is improving the services at these establishments and we will continue to work with them on this."

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