Brinsford: A prison transformed

brinsfordThe progress made at HMYOI Brinsford was impressive and staff are to be congratulated, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an announced inspection of the young offender institution near Wolverhampton.

HMYOI Brinsford holds young adult men aged 18 to 21. After its last inspection in November 2013, the Chief Inspector of Prisons described the findings as the worst identified during his tenure. This second announced inspection, 15 months later, found an establishment that had systematically addressed the inspectorate’s recommendations and was transformed. The establishment had prioritised safety and respect, which were also the essential foundations for improvements in work, training and education and resettlement, in which further progress was still required.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • arrangements for receiving young men into Brinsford and looking after them in the early days, a high-risk time, had improved greatly and were very good;
  • incidents of self-harm had reduced by a third and care for prisoners in crisis was good;
  • the prison had a much more accurate picture of levels of violence, and while the number of recorded violent incidents had increased, and was too high, much of the violence was low level;
  • a wing on one of the units had been designated as a supported living unit to provide a safe environment for those most vulnerable because of bullying;
  • use of force had increased but was used correctly, while the use of segregation had fallen sharply;
  • the prison was tackling the supply and demand for drugs;
  • security was proportionate to the level of risk;
  • substance misuse services had improved markedly and were now very good;
  • external areas were spotlessly clean, a programme of refurbishment was underway and cells were now in good condition;
  • with a few exceptions, prisoners had good time out of cell; and
  • relationships between staff and prisoners were also now very good.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • improvements in purposeful activity were less well advanced, and although there were now adequate activity places to meet the needs of the population, attendance was poor;
  • teaching was inconsistent and achievements were low;
  • resettlement services required most development –offender management was undermined by the frequent redeployment of staff to meet other needs in the prison; and
  • there was a backlog of risk assessments and some public protection processes were weak.

Nick Hardwick said:

“The response of managers and staff in the prison to the challenge I made after our 2013 inspection has been impressive and more progress than we dared hope for has been made. The scale of the problems facing Brinsford was such that there still remains a great deal to do. Some of the improvements we saw were very recent and not yet fully embedded. There should be no room for complacency. Nevertheless, those involved should be congratulated on the progress they have made, which has served the young men held at Brinsford, the staff who work with them and the communities into which they will be released well.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. Read the report.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
  3. HMYOI Brinsford is a young offender institution and remand centre for young adult male prisoners aged 18 to 21.
  4. This announced inspection was carried out from 16-20 February 2015.
  5. Please contact Jane Parsons in HM Inspectorate of Prisons Press Office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452 if you would like more information or to request an interview.