Prison’s “inadequate” segregation unit

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IT HOUSES some of the most dangerous criminals in Britain, but an inspection at HMP Full Sutton has found the segregation unit to be “inadequate”.

A report recently released found that during an inspection of the Category A maximum security prison in November, the unit for more difficult inmates was criticised.

However, they said that, overall, staff were “to be commended on their work in very challenging circumstances”, while praising rigorous security procedures, which it said were proportionate to the risks faced.

The report, published by the chief inspector, Nick Hardwick, stressed that since its last inspection in 2007, Full Sutton had “made significant progress but some concerns remain”.

The report said: “While we were satisfied that a sharp increase in recorded use of force was explicable and justified, we had some concerns over some arrangements for dealing with the most challenging and difficult prisoners.

“Thus the regime in the segregation unit was inadequate and there continued to be a confused approach to behaviour management.”

The inspectors said they were not confident that use of special accommodation and mechanical restraints were always appropriate.

Although relationships between most staff and prisoners had improved since the previous inspection in 2007, the prison “needed to address the negative perceptions of Muslim and black and ethnic minority prisoners”, the report said.

Safety arrangements had improved, with better management of early days in the prison, satisfactory suicide and self-harm prevention work and more robust anti-violence work, the report said.

As a result, most prisoners reported feeling safe.

“This is an essentially positive report on a high security prison tasked with holding some of the country’s most serious and dangerous offenders,” the inspectors said.

Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: “It demonstrates that the governor and staff at Full Sutton are managing long-term prisoners very effectively on behalf of the public.

“Significant progress has been made since the last inspection in the areas of safety, purposeful activity and relationships between staff and prisoners all having improved.

“Work is in hand to address the other issues raised by the inspection.”

Murderers, terrorists and other violent offenders serving up to and including life sentences are kept at Full Sutton.

Infamous inmates to have served time there include Charles Bronson and serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

Last month the prison made headline news after a prisoner was charged with killing inmate Colin Hatch at Full Sutton.

Hatch had been serving a life sentence for killing a seven-year-old boy.