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Wayland Prison still rated highly in report

PUBLISHED: 09:44 17 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:27 08 July 2010

INMATES in a Norfolk prison are still doubling up in single cells despite 300 new beds being created in the past year, according to a report by an independent watchdog.

INMATES in a Norfolk prison are still doubling up in single cells despite 300 new beds being created in the past year, according to a report by an independent watchdog.

HMP Wayland, at Griston, increased its capacity to 1,017 in the past year but in the upheaval saw an increase in violence, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report has said.

There was also an increase in trafficking of prescribed drugs within the prison and serious concerns raised over damage caused to a new 15 space segregation unit, the report said.

However, the prison was awarded high performing status for the fifth year in a row.

The report said this was “a credit to the excellent relationship between prisoners, staff and trade unions” making it a “calm and purposeful establishment”.

Governor Richard Booty said teething problems and upheaval had been expected during influx of 300 new prisoners after the construction of new blocks at the prison in the last year.

“From that period right up to now we expected an influx of prisoners who didn't know Wayland,” he said.

“We have managed it and it has gone pretty well. It is now getting back to how we expect it to be and that is a tribute to our staff and we continue to perform well.”

The biggest issues at the prison, according to the report, were problems with damage to a new 15 space segregation unit, which had led to beds being concreted to the floor, and dealing of prescribed drugs.

Another concern of the IMB was that there were more younger prisoners serving longer for more violent offences and that this added to pressure at the prison.

This had created an “edgy atmosphere” and a significant increase in dirty protests, self-harm and assaults, the report said.

Higher numbers of lifers and high risk prisoners had put pressure on single cell availability, the report said, only seen in the oldest part of the prison where it said more than 20pc of prisoners were forced to share a single cell.

“The board has been complaining about these conditions for almost a decade and a half and was disappointed that the advent of the new build did not end this unsatisfactory situation,” the report said.

A further concern was the effect of budget cuts on staffing.

Mr Booty said the new segregation unit had gone through teething problems but was better than what they had before.

He said their record eradicating illegal drugs was high amongst prisons, which partially reflected the demand for prescribed drugs, but that they were tight on who they prescribed to and how.

Space is likely to be eased later this year when about 140 men in a unit for vulnerable prisoners and those taking part in sex offender treatment programmes are due to be moved to HMP Bure at Coltishall later this year.

Some will remain at Wayland to complete their programmes.

Mr Booty said: “We have got to be as efficient as we can and as effective as we can with what we have got. That is the challenge and it will be this year and next year.”

The report added that healthcare, especially mental health, had improved.

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