The Young Persons’ Unit at HMP & YOI Parc near Bridgend in South Wales has shown “quite significant improvement’ in key aspects, including safety, in the past year, inspectors found.
Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said Parc had often received positive inspection results and he welcomed work by the management to turn around a deterioration in standards at the previous inspection in December 2016. Parc held 43 boys up to the age of 18 at the time of the most recent inspection in October 2017. Publishing a report on the inspection, Mr Clarke said: “At our last visit we were disappointed to see some deterioration, with the institution becoming less safe and less respectful. At this inspection, however, it was clear to us that, with good leadership and a re-energised staff group, deterioration had been arrested and indeed quite significant improvement was evident.”
Safety is a key challenge in all institutions for young people and recorded violence at the Parc unit, although falling, remained too high – though most incidents were low level. Linked to this, the unit needed to address boys’ poor perceptions of safety and victimisation. Nearly two-thirds of boys said they had been victimised by other boys. Despite this, inspection evidence “clearly indicated improvement in most aspects of safety,” Mr Clarke said. Boys were well received and correctly inducted into the unit, safeguarding and child protection procedures were more rigorous and the care for those at risk of self-harm was much better.
Staff were supervising boys with much greater confidence. Behaviour management arrangements had been properly reviewed and now had a greater emphasis on motivation than sanctions. Security was proportionate and use of force was better managed. Boys had good amounts of time out of their cells, with improved education and activities, and could eat communally in an ordered atmosphere, although few liked the food. The Parc unit was also cleaner. There was a greater level of consultation with boys. However, more needed to be done to promote equality, which remained weak.
Mr Clarke said:
“This is a good report. It was encouraging to see many of our previous recommendations attended to, which was to the great credit of the director and her staff, who had clearly worked very hard. Some very creative and caring approaches were seen in the work we inspected and we cited
several examples of good practice. Staff were well trained, committed and confident, and it was clear to us that a firm platform for yet further progress was in place.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said:
“Parc has significantly improved the services it provides for young people, which is a credit to the Director and her team. The challenges presented by the young people are considerable but there is a clear strategy in place to tackle violence and provide positive opportunities for change, which is commendable.”
A copy of the full report, published on 20 February 2018, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons