HMYOI Werrington, Inspections

The prison was given an inspection by HMIP in January 2018. The full report can be found if you follow the links below. In their latest reports the inspectors said:

HMYOI Werrington holds around 100 boys aged between 15 and 18. The establishment was last inspected in February 2017. On this occasion, in January 2018, we found not only that standards had been maintained, but that in the area of respect they had improved and now merited our highest assessment of ‘good’. By any standards this was a good inspection, and showed what could be achieved in an area of custody that has drawn considerable adverse comment in recent times, not least from this inspectorate. Much of the progress that had been made had come about as the result of good partnership working with other bodies, including in education, health and the voluntary sector. It was also particularly pleasing to note the very positive response to previous inspection recommendations.

The inspection very quickly established that the overriding culture at Werrington was one of incentive rather than punishment. This was reality, not merely an aspiration, and the eadership and staff deserved much credit for having the determination to deliver it. This was in stark contrast to what we see all too often at other establishments, where a negative cycle of punishment and restriction is pursued as the preferred means of behaviour management. During the inspection we observed good relationships between staff and children.

Our major concerns were around the levels of violence, which had risen since the last inspection and were too high. There had been a significant increase from some 142 incidents in the six months prior to the last inspection to 206 incidents in the period leading up to this one. There had been a concomitant increase in the use of force, and in light of all this it was disappointing that body-worn video cameras were underused. Nevertheless, there were good initiatives in place to tackle the violence, and early indications were that they were having a positive effect. The ambition was to make the young offender institution (YOI) safer, but not at the expense of the regime. These efforts are detailed in this report.

The improvement in the area of respect – which was ‘reasonably good’ at the previous inspection but was now assessed as ‘good’ – is creditable. It is worthy of note that the failure to implement a previous inspection recommendation designed to improve separation and the regime on the residential units was not the fault of the institution but rather of delays by contractors in carrying out works.

It was pleasing to note some very good work taking place in the area of resettlement. In particular, there was imaginative use of release on temporary licence (ROTL), which was to be commended. There was also a proactive casework team that worked with partners to address offending behaviour and meet other resettlement needs.

In conclusion, it is pleasing to be able to publish a very positive report about a YOI. The inspectorate always welcomes good practice being identified and promulgated, which is why we have gone to particular lengths in this report to do so. Nevertheless, it is clear that if the progress that has been made at Werrington is to be consolidated and maintained, there needs to be a continued and unwavering focus on reducing the violence that is the major threat to its continuing stability and success.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM
March 2018
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

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To read the full report go to the Ministry of Justice web site or follow the links below