Critical report finds HMP Blundeston needs new direction

A Suffolk jail has been heavily criticised in a damning report published today (July 13).

The report said HMP Blundeston, near Lowestoft, has 'drifted backwards' and needs a new sense of direction.

The category C training prison, where there is room for 520 male inmates, was commended at its last inspection. However it is now deemed to be failing in a number of areas. Inspectors found that significant numbers of prisoners feel unsafe and too many seek sanctuary in the segregation unit, that sanitation in some of the older wings were not acceptable, and services for foreign national prisoners were poor.

They also raised concerns that Blundeston can be unpopular with prisoners from outside East Anglia who struggle to maintain family ties, that staff are fearful of the prison's future at a time when small prisons are being earmarked for closure, and, although use of force was low, there had been an increase in the use of 'special accommodation'.

Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons for HM Inspectorate of Prisons, said: 'This is a disappointing report on a prison which appears to have gone backwards recently.

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'However, it is also a prison with a number of assets, particularly its very good training provision, and we were pleased to hear of exciting regional plans to make Blundeston a centre for East Anglian prisoners which might ease a number of its current problems.'

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said: 'Since the inspection, the governor and his staff have worked hard to address the issues and action is in place to meet the recommendations.'

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The announced inspection was carried out between January 31 and February 4 this year.

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