'Appalling' conditions at young offenders' institute

A prisons watchdog has criticised "appalling" conditions at a young offenders' institute (YOI), it emerged today.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for Glen Parva Young Offenders Institute in Leicester found some parts were in a poor state of repair, including leaks in plumbing from cell toilets.



Its report, which covers December 2008 to November 2009, said the YOI was operating "within the confines of a sprawling campus of largely shabby buildings particularly in the North end, which continue to degrade over time, despite the best efforts of the management and staff to maintain a reasonable, respectable and clean environment for the prisoners".



The report from the board found conditions in some parts were "unacceptable" for both prisoners and staff.



The problems were found to be in Glen Parva's North end - which consists of five residential units built in the 1970s by prisoner labour.



Two of the units are no longer used as accommodation due to poor construction, but three remain.



The IMB report said: "The three remaining occupied units making up the North end are in an appalling condition with nearly all windows servicing the toilet area either sealed off or left with no glass.



"The most concerning element is the plumbing for the integral toilets that runs down the inside of the buildings and is accessed by cupboards outside every cell.



"These are in a very poor state of repair resulting in water residue seeping through the walls and a horrible smell that fills the corridors and cells on regular occasions.



"The external drainage system is also in a bad state and is likely to affect the fabric of the buildings.



"A great deal of money is being spent on 'make do and mend' being undertaken by the Works department and the associated cost is failing to resolve the totally unsatisfactory issues identified.



"These conditions are unacceptable for both staff who work in these conditions and prisoners who have to reside in these units."



The report, published on February 12, said "major improvement" was needed at the institution, which houses a mix of remand, unsentenced and convicted men aged 18 to 21.



It said there were also concerns at the waiting time for dental treatment and plans for partial closure of its hospital's inpatients department.



The board recognised some improvements and said the prison's Chaplaincy continued to fulfil its role in giving "excellent support".



Complaints were dealt with according to prison service guidelines, with 100% processed on time during November, the report said.



It also found improvements to the reception area meant prisoners had an "excellent first impression" when they arrived.



But it said improvements were being attempted "within a far from promising framework".



"Glen Parva YOI continues to operate within the confines of a sprawling campus of largely shabby buildings particularly in the North end, which continue to degrade over time, despite the best efforts of the management and staff to maintain a reasonable, respectable and clean environment for the prisoners," the report found.



"Overcrowding continues to be a problem, with the prison running at near maximum capacity most of the time.



"Whereas cell-sharing may be less important in a YOI than in an adult prison, this can at times present additional disciplinary problems for the staff.



"Pressures in the overall prison estate continue to result in the need for significant drafts of prisoners from other regions, particularly London.



"This has recently introduced an increasing level of gang rivalry, thereby adding yet another dimension to an already toxic melting pot, which threatens to undermine the good order and discipline of the establishment."



Today IMB chair John Schatz said although the units apparently did not breach any health and safety rules, he did not think it was right that anyone was living in the conditions.



He said: "Appalling to one person may not be appalling to another, but if you walk round and think, 'I am a reasonably sane human being', it just doesn't seem right that anybody should be living in those conditions, whether they are prisoners or otherwise.



"They have been sentenced by loss of their liberty. Beyond that they need to be treated in a humane and reasonable manner."



Mr Schatz said although two of the five units in Glen Parva's North end had been closed as living accommodation, others were coming close to needing to be closed.



"It is not actually a criticism of the prison," he said, "it's a criticism of the prison service that they are throwing money at it to try and maintain it when in reality it's a bit of a waste.



"It has been raised on one or two occasions. On the last one the minister responded saying the prison service were aware of it and they had looked at a rebuild but then had put it on hold because of lack of funds.



"Obviously it's still on hold and the question is how long are things going to be on hold.



"However much they throw at it the conditions will get worse and worse and worse."



Today Glen Parva's Governor Michael Wood said: "I thank the Independent Monitoring Board for their very supportive report.



"It clearly recognises the hard work of all our staff and other agencies that work within HMYOI Glen Parva, and it says many positive things about the prison's regime.



"I accept that some accommodation requires refurbishment.



"The prison's estates department work tirelessly to maintain conditions to a satisfactory level.



"All cells are certified as fit for purpose and any that are considered not to be are taken out of commission."

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?