HMP Stocken: Prisoners' release 'posed risk to public'

HMP Stocken
Image caption HMP Stocken has a capacity of more than 800

The release of inmates from a prison posed serious risks to the public, inspectors have said.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons said most prisoners at HMP Stocken, in Rutland, were sent to a resettlement prison prior to release, but some were not.

This "created serious risks" as HMP Stocken is not a resettlement prison, so does not have a rehabilitation company to support prisoners.

The prison's rating has declined from "good" to "not sufficiently good".

A report from an unannounced inspection earlier this year said some of the released prisoners - an average of eight per month - were "high risk", with no systematic review of prisoners' resettlement needs before release.

Inspectors found a "mixed picture of progress" since their last visit in 2015, with 29 of 60 recommended improvements made.

Two prisoners killed themselves since the last inspection, while 184 incidents of self-harm in the six months up to the visit were also reported, with about half of those involving eight prisoners.

'Finely balanced'

The report said there was "no local strategy for reducing self-harm, and insufficient analysis of self-harm incidents to inform strategic action".

Inspectors praised the category C training prison for its improved safety rating, adding relationships between staff and prisoners "were generally positive".

However, they said the use of illicit drugs - particularly psychoactive substances - remained a serious problem.

Inspectors also expressed disappointment that performance in the area of purposeful activity had fallen away.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The category C training prison has been rated as "not sufficiently good"

Chief inspector Peter Clarke said: "Some of (our) judgements were finely balanced, but the main concerns we have identified will, I hope, give a clear steer for where the undoubted energy and commitment of the leadership and staff at Stocken can best be focused."

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said there might be cases where people were not moved into a resettlement prison because they are from the local area or have somewhere safe to go.

She said the charity was more concerned by the decline in "purposeful activity" at the prison.

"It is meant to be a training prison," she said.

"But keeping men in their cells for hours on end with nothing to do is not going to prepare them for life after release."

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