Prisons inspector attacks media

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The Independent Online
THE CHIEF Inspector of Prisons attacks the media today for "sensational" reporting that has contributed to his deteriorating relationship with jail staff.

Days after his call for the early release of the two killers of James Bulger, Sir David Ramsbotham urged more positive coverage of the work being done in prisons.

In a glowing inspection report on the governors and staff at Wayland prison in Norfolk, he writes: "I wish that the media would give more recognition to the work that they and others like them, up and down the country, are achieving on behalf of the public. It is all too easy to go with the tide and report only those things which have a sensational or disgraceful overtone."

The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, is still waiting for an explanation from Sir David as to why he chose to go "beyond his terms of reference" over the Bulger case. In an interview with the New Statesman last week, Sir David said the Home Office should not delay the release of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, both 17, after they reach 18.

In the Wayland report, published today, Sir David turns on the media in an attempt to rebuild his strained relations with prison officers.

Sir David has angered the Prison Officers' Association by accusing them of being "militant" and "destructive" and contributing to an "evil" regime.

But in the Wayland report, the chief inspector praises the "constructive approach" of the local members of the association and the prison's management. He writes: "Wayland is an example of where sensible governors include the POA in the running of the prison in the widest sense of the term."