Wayland Prison still has weaknesses to address

Wayland Prison.

Wayland Prison. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Wayland Prison has improved since its last inspection two years ago, but still has 'significant weaknesses' which need addressing.

The prison, which holds around 1,000 men near Watton, was found to be reasonably safe by inspectors, who also said anyone at risk of suicide and self-harm was well cared for.

The management of substance misuse has improved and health care has improved significantly, according to the report.

There is a focus on ensuring prisoners get employment-related skills which are supported by efforts to help them find a job or further training when they are released.

As well as this, there are good links with employers and many prisoners experienced a reasonably realistic working day, the report added.

But Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said despite the positive points, the institution was stretched at the time of the inspection in July and August last year and that budget reductions and management changes were having an impact.

It was found that the relationships between staff and prisoners are the weakest area of the prison. Inspectors said there is a lack of resources applied to diversity and equality issues and black and minority ethnic prisoners reported being treated with a lack of respect by staff.

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Although some staff and prisoner relationships were very positive, inspectors found too many were 'dismissive and disinterested'.

Mr Hardwick said: 'Action was already being taken to address some of the weaknesses we have identified.'

But he added: 'Not enough attention was being paid to weak first night and induction processes, prisoners' relationships with staff and the poor experience of some prisoners from minority groups.

'These remain significant concerns and need to be dealt with as priorities.'

However, he said a number of promising new initiatives are in the early stages and the full benefits had yet to be realised.

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, said: 'I am pleased the chief inspector has recognised the improvements that have been made at Wayland, despite it undergoing a significant period of change.

'It is particularly encouraging to see the positive work taking place in preparing offenders for release – this stands the prison in good stead for its future role as a designated resettlement prison.

'I am confident that the governor and his staff will work hard to address any concerns raised in the report, particularly staff-prisoner relationships.'

Do you have a story related to the Watton area? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk