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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Haverigg prison bosses taken to task over ‘appalling’ cuts in staff

PRISON ratings which put Cumbria’s only jail among the best-performing in the country have come under fire from a leading reform campaigner.

The National Offender Management Service last week released self-rated scores which placed prisons in England and Wales into ratings from one to four.

HMP Haverigg was among a group of prisons which were graded as three out of four, meaning most targets for improvement had been met.

However Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League For Penal Reform, which campaigns for reform of the prisons and punishment system in the UK, has criticised the report.

She said: “Some of the prisons assessed are of reasonable quality but if you look at the inspection reports they raise all sorts of questions.

“I have more confidence in the inspection reports rather than the NOMS assessments which I think are not as in-depth.

“The inspection is based on the findings of a team of people who go into the prison and interview prisoners and staff and they are really getting into the detail.”

In a report released by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons earlier this year, HMP Haverigg was said to have problems with gangs as well as substantial issues tackling drugs at the jail.

The report said the jail had some way to go to meet the targets and it was criticised for losing momentum in overcoming the issues identified at a previous inspection in 2011.

However, in the NOMS survey it was rated among the highest performers.

Ms Crook said government cuts had put many jails into positions where they were overcrowded with a falling number of staff.

She said: “The issue about Haverigg is the staff cuts have been appalling, going from 140 to 80 staff is astonishing.”

The prison has announced it will recruit 10 new prison officers after a three-year freeze and a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice confirmed retired officers were being sent invitations to return to work.

The Ministry of Justice did not respond to Ms Crook’s comments before the Evening Mail went to press.

Have your say

I would love the Evening Mail to one day write something positive about HMP Haverigg. The paper is too quick to jump on any negatives and should consider what impression they give to the local community. Haverigg Prison is one of the largest employers in the area and perhaps the paper should consider trying to work with the Prison to build on some of the good work that takes place there dealing with some extremely volatile and vulnerable offenders it holds. I realise the evening mail is there to sell papers but some of the sensationalist headlines that involve the prison over the last few years have made a laughing stock of the newspaper. If the paper was to report the FACTS then am sure locally people would actually want to buy the newspaper.

Posted by Prison Worker on 6 August 2014 at 20:38

The prison is past its sell by date - no offenders want to go there and no staff want to work there.
Close it down and level it. Let nature have it back.

Posted by LEE on 6 August 2014 at 17:36

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