Hollesley Bay open prison has 'risen to challenges'

image captionThe open prison was combined with a separate young offenders institute

An open prison in Suffolk has "risen to most of the challenges" presented to it since its last full inspection in 2009.

HMP and YOI Hollesley Bay was described as a "successful open prison" by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

Its report praised the management of bullying, drugs and training courses.

However, inspectors had concerns that some black and minority ethnic prisoners said they had been victimised by staff, and one accommodation unit needed replacing.

image source, Mike page
image captionThe open prison (foreground) on the Suffolk coast has capacity for 434 inmates

Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, said it was "an impressive open prison from which other similar establishments could learn".

"It prepared men very well to find employment on release and so reduce the risk that they would reoffend," he said.

"It needs to guard against complacency and build on its considerable strengths."

The report said over a third of black and minority ethnic prisoners claimed they had been victimised.

Inspectors found most outcomes were equitable, but managers needed to investigate why inmates felt this way.

Prisoners' views

Luke, studying brickwork and bricklaying, said: "[Extra qualifications] feels good because I get a head start in life compared to most people and I'm looking to go straight into bricklaying when I get out."

Jez, doing a prison course in painting and decorating, said: "The people are really good. Everyone thinks of prison as being a nasty place, but you're bettering yourself really."

Ryan, taking a multi-skills course in plastering, painting, bricklaying and roofing, said, said: "I was a plasterer out there and thankfully my employers are willing to take me back on when I'm released, but if I didn't have that, I would have more opportunities to go back to work and enhance my life."

Prisoners selected for BBC interview by HMP Hollesley Bay

The jail has a capacity of 434 prisoners and about eight were sent back to closed prisons each month.

Declan Moore, governor of HMP Hollesley Bay, said: "The report is a reflection of the fantastic staff I have working here and in the workshops we are delivering real skills that people want to learn.

"We do have violence and people who cause us trouble, but I am very much in control and you either buy in and behave or you can go.

"In 2014, we had five absconds - it would be great to have none, but the reality is we have very few and we're working on it."

The inspectors recommended the site's Bosmere unit was outdated and needed replacing.

The category D open prison was preparing to merge with the neighbouring category C HMP Warren Hill prison.

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