HMYOI Wetherby: Three-Quarters of HMIP Recommendations Not Implemented At This Volatile Institution

wetherbyOVERVIEW

SAFETY: 

Many boys arrived too late from court to benefit from a safe introduction to the establishment. There was a shortage of important basic items and boys spent too long locked in sparse cells on Wetherby’s induction unit. Too many boys did not feel safe and some safeguarding practices increased risk. Levels of self-harm and the number of boys on ACCTs2 had reduced. Procedures to reduce violence and bullying still had inherent weaknesses. There were early signs of improvement in behaviour management, particularly on Keppel. Too many security measures were disproportionate, frustrating legitimate attempts to help boys. Management of adjudications had improved, but we remained concerned about some governance arrangements for the use of force. There was not enough management oversight of the segregation unit which we found to be risk averse. Proportionately fewer boys from Keppel were subject to the use of force and segregation. Outcomes for children and young people at Wetherby were not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test. Outcomes for children and young people at Keppel were reasonably good against this healthy prison test.

At the last inspection in 2016, we found that outcomes for children and young people at Wetherby were not sufficiently good and outcomes for children and young people at Keppel were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 26 recommendations about safety. At this follow-up inspection we found that eight of the recommendations had been achieved, three had been partially achieved and 15 had not been achieved.

RESPECT: 

Keppel unit was cleaner and better equipped than the main site where too many areas were dirty nd there was a shortage of important basic items. Access to telephones and showers was more restricted on the main site. Relationships between staff and boys were generally good but were hindered by some negative influences. There were significant weaknesses in equality work. The chaplaincy was a real strength. The application system was not monitored effectively. Management of complaints was starting to improve. Health services were generally good but affected by staff shortfalls. Boys were negative about the food but there were some opportunities to eat communally. Outcomes for children and young people at Wetherby were not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test. Outcomes for children and young people at Keppel were reasonably good against this healthy prison test.

At the last inspection in 2016, we found that outcomes for children and young people in Wetherby and Keppel were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 30 recommendations about respect. At this follow-up inspection we found that five of the recommendations had been achieved, one had been partially achieved and 24 had not been achieved.

PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITY: 

Too many boys were locked up during the core day at Wetherby, although there had been significant improvements in this area on the Keppel unit. Education was still not given enough priority. Sufficient activities were provided to occupy every boy but attendance and punctuality were not managed effectively and not enough effort was made to get boys back to education following a behavioural incident. The quality of teaching was generally good and most boys behaved well in class. Achievement rates when boys attended classes were good. Access to the library was limited for boys on Wetherby. Boys had no opportunities to gain meaningful PE qualifications. Outcomes for children and young people at Wetherby and Keppel were not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test.

At the last inspection in 2016, we found that outcomes for children and young people in Wetherby and Keppel were poor against this healthy prison test. We made 12 recommendations about

purposeful activity. At this follow-up inspection we found that five of the recommendations had been achieved, one had been partially achieved and six had not been achieved.

RESETTLEMENT:

The strategic management of resettlement was informed by an up-to-date needs analysis. Community partnerships were improving and there was more use of release on temporary licence (ROTL). Management of the training plan process was generally good but the quality of casework remained too variable and only half the boys knew that they had a training plan. Public protection work was good but management of MAPPA (multi-agency public protection arrangements) needed further improvement. Looked-after children were supported well and there was dedicated case management of boys serving long sentences. Reintegration planning was sound and most of the pathway work was well managed. Intervention to help boys with sexually harmful behaviours was good. Outcomes for children and young people at Wetherby and Keppel were reasonably good against this healthy prison test

At the last inspection in 2016, we found that outcomes for children and young people in Wetherby and Keppel were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 12 recommendations about resettlement. At this follow-up inspection we found that three of the recommendations had been achieved, two had been partially achieved and seven had not been achieved.

HMYOI Wetherby, a young offender institution with some extremely challenging young people, had improved and become more stable over the last year, according to Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.

In particular, a year on from the last inspection, there was a restored “sense of purpose and confidence” in the running of the Keppel unit within the prison, a self-contained specialist facility holding “some of the most challenging and vulnerable young people currently held anywhere in a custodial setting.”

However, inspectors found, in the wider Wetherby prison there were high levels of violence between boys and rising numbers of assaults on staff. Bullying was also a problem.

HMYOI Wetherby and Keppel, in Yorkshire, held 260 boys aged 15 to 18 at the time of the 2017 inspection, with around 40 boys in the Keppel unit. All custodial facilities for young people are inspected annually.

The 2016 inspection had found “much to commend” at Wetherby but also identified failings in safety and a failure to deliver an acceptable and predictable daily routine. In 2017, inspectors were reassured to find that the situation appeared to be more stable. A recently appointed new governor was a steadying influence, leading to a number of positive findings:

  • The Keppel unit showed “clear evidence of improvement.”
  • Overall, the number of boys exhibiting self-harming behaviour had reduced since the last inspection.
  • Inspectors also found that work to resettle boys at the end of their sentences was a strength at Wetherby, with a good understanding of boys’ needs and improved community partnerships and use of release on temporary licence (ROTL) to support resettlement work.

However, the 2017 report noted that the wider prison was still not safe enough and reported levels of violence were high, with increasing violence against staff. Inspectors also found that:

  • The prison was unable to identify the full extent of bullying and deliver proper support for boys who were bullied.
  • While there was improvement in behaviour management strategies, with more effort to incentivise boys, “the approach to violence reduction in general was still not adequate.” In particular, inspectors found that many approaches to security or the use of segregation “lacked proportionality and were needlessly restrictive”. They observed “an overbearing focus on risk rather than the needs of the boys”.
  • The wider prison operated a restricted daily routine and time out of cell was insufficient. During the working day inspectors found nearly half of boys in the wider Wetherby prison locked in cells – though the situation was much better on Keppel.
  • Inspectors also found that work to promote equality was weak. Boys from a black and minority ethnic background reported a “significantly worse experience of victimisation by other boys and staff” but there was a lack of clarity at Wetherby on whether racist abuse was being managed effectively.

Mark Leech, Editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales said: “Yet again we see that three-quarters of HMIP Recommendations have not been implemented – you really have to ask what is the point of them?

“The public pays three and a half million pounds a year for this Inspectorate which, inspection after Inspection sees its recommendations ignored – and what makes that worse is that the increasingly ineffective Chief Inspector of prisons makes no complaint about it at all.”

A copy of the full report, published on 19 September 2017, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

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