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Investigation finds a rise serious and violent incidents at Norfolk prison

PUBLISHED: 17:58 19 October 2015 | UPDATED: 17:59 19 October 2015

Wayland Prison.

Wayland Prison.

Archant

An increase in serious and violent incidents at a Norfolk prison has reached “unacceptable levels”, according to inspectors.

Assaults on staff and inmates have increased at Wayland Prison, near Watton, and one inmate has died there during what has been described as a “challenging year.”

Kane Barratt, 25, from Stockport, jailed for robbery and burglary, was found hanged in his cell in November last year.

A report from the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) did, however, praise the prison’s “strong management” and staff for being “very professional in dealing with the sometimes very challenging situations forced upon them.”

The report states: “Wayland has been a safe place providing a calm and purposeful regime, however recent indications are that this is deteriorating.”
It adds: “This has been a very challenging year for Wayland.

“The board fully recognises the hard work and dedication of staff and management.”

Cost cutting from central government and staff shortages of up to 22pc have been attributed as causes for the increase in violence at the category C prison.

The report highlighted how there are more than 400 outstanding risk and assessment needs reports, known as OASys, which are designed to assist offenders’ rehabilitation.

More CCTV cameras have been installed in the prison and the report praises improvements of drug and alcohol treatments.

A Violence Reduction Project has been established across the prison system.

The report states: “Staff morale has been low and we believe that this impacts on the positive interaction with prisoners.

“We appreciate that in the current economic climate there must be cuts, however we believe that they have gone too far and have impacted on the maintenance and safety in the prison.

“Recent moves to address this shortage of staff have been made and the board looks forward to a more settled environment.”

A Prison Service spokesman said: “We are pleased that this report recognises the hard work and dedication of staff at HMP Wayland in what has been a challenging year for the prison.

“All prisons have safe and decent staffing levels and more than 40 new officers have started working at Wayland this year, with more arriving in the near future.

“We take a zero tolerance approach to violence and offenders responsible face having time added to their sentence.”

The IMB reports to the Secretary of State and works to ensure that prisoners are dealt with in a just and humane way and that prisons meet the standards placed on them.

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