HMP Forest Bank inspection finds prisoners need 'more work and training'

HMP Forest Bank in Salford
Image caption Inspectors described the prison as being "modern, clean and bright"

Prisoners at a Greater Manchester jail need "more work, education and training", the Chief Inspector of Prisons has said.

Nick Hardwick said an inspection of HMP Forest Bank in Salford had found "over 40% of prisoners were locked up doing nothing during the working day".

He said it had also found the provision for learning was "drifting" and promotion of diversity was "limited".

However, he added that it was a "safe and decent prison".

The privately-run HMP Forest Bank in Swinton houses up to 1,364 prisoners - the majority of which come from within an 18-mile (30km) radius - and was described in a report in 2010 as being "a good local prison where improvement was evident".

'Safe and respectful'

A spokeswoman for HM Inspectorate of Prisons said this "broadly remains the case, although there was some deterioration in the quality of activity and learning and skills provided".

She said inspectors had found that a "number of safety concerns had been addressed" and that "security was applied proportionate to risk and use of force was low".

However, the report also found that two in five prisoners were locked up when they could be working or learning, no analysis of the deteriorating learning provision was being done and segregation in the jail was "relatively high".

She added that inspectors had "identified differing and negative perceptions from various minority groups".

Mr Hardwick said the report was "good" and showed the prison "remained safe and respectful", but it did also highlight areas that needed to improve.

"We would encourage renewed effort to improve the quality of the regime, so that more prisoners will be required to use their time purposefully," he said.

Michael Spurr, the chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, said he was pleased Forest Bank remained "a well-run prison".

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