Prisons in the press – 18 September

Guards dump a body in a van, healthcare for sex offenders ‘inadequate’

the verne IMB report

The latest Immigration Removal Centre made a splash this week.

Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.

Hot off the press

Report praises Portland prison’s Immigration Removal Centre

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) released on Monday its first report for The Verne, Portland, since it changed from a Category C prison to an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).

Local paper The Dorset Echo highlighted the report’s praise of staff for coping with the transition, and concerns over facilities for detainees with mental health problems and issues with legal highs.

In context

The IMB report painted a glowing picture of staff at The Verne:

” It provides a decent environment where detainees awaiting removal are treated humanely and fairly. Management has high expectations of staff and there are many examples of good and dedicated work by officers and managers.”

This is remarkable, given the damning report on Detention Centres delivered in June. As Prison Watch reported, the HMIP found immigration detention centres in England and Wales held minors “in error,” imprisoned adults for unlimited periods and denied detainees access to legal services.

Moves to oust G4S and Serco as tagging suppliers fail

Last year G4S and Serco were referred to the Serious Fraud Office for overcharging for tagging offenders, and the new contract — worth £400m over six years — was awarded to Capita.

But the new contract has so far failed to deliver, leaving the government to rely on tags supplied by G4S and Serco anyway, the Financial Times reported.

Investigated this week

  1. Strangeways rooftop protest sparks claims conditions inside prison are at “boiling point,” The Independent reported.
  2. Inmate died after smoking legal high in prison HMP Altcourse. The Liverpool Echo has the story.
  3. Living wage for prison inmates among recommended reforms, as the Express and Star Midlands reported.
  4. Police investigate death of prison inmate after guards seen on CCTV dumping his body into a van, writes Paul Peachey in the Independent.

Revealed this week

Lives ‘at risk’ at HMP Chelmsford, ex-prisoner claims to the BBC

In other news

Rye Hill sex offenders prison has “inadequate” healthcare for the influx of older men, an IMB report said. The BBC has the full story.

Taking cues from his son’s work last week, Prince Charles visited Leeds prison, along with three protection officers, the Daily Mail reported. The Prince was there to see the work of Through the Gates, a rehabilitation project, in practice.


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