‘Prison continues to operate well’

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WHATTON Prison continues to operate well despite concerns about budgets and staffing levels, according to a report published this week.

The Independent Monitoring Board’s annual report for 2010/11 says the prison, which mainly houses sex offenders, provides a safe environment where prisoners are treated with dignity and are given opportunities to engage in purposeful activities and address their behaviour.

The board said it was satisfied with new rules preventing a prisoner from sharing a cell if he has been convicted of a sexual assault of an adult of the same sex.

But the board said it remains critical of use of three and four bed dormitories where prisoners eat, wash and sleep with ‘minimum privacy’.

The board also expressed concern to the Ministry of Justice that only two open prisons in the country are willing to accept sex offenders, meaning many prisoners are unable to move out of Whatton Prison as they approach the end of their sentence.

Further concerns noted by the board include the high number of indeterminate sentences for public protection at the prison and a large number of complaints about missing property.

The report was compiled by a group of unpaid volunteers who provide scrutiny of the way prisons are run. A full copy of the report into conditions at Whatton prison can be downloaded at www.imb.gov.uk