In their annual report published today the Independent Monitoring Board at HMYOI Deerbolt report that:
- Prisoners sent to Deerbolt from all over the country bring with them gang rivalries from different cities, which has contributed to increased violence (also fuelled by a rise in the amount of drugs getting into the prison)
- Staff numbers are very tight and too many are recent recruits, young and inexperienced
- Too many prisoners stay locked in their cells all day, even though Deerbolt has good facilities for education and training
IMB Deerbolt Chair, John Stoney, said:
“The staff at Deerbolt are faced with a wide variety of challenging but often vulnerable young prisoners. The IMB volunteers visiting the prison observe many instances of staff treating vulnerable prisoners sensitively and challenging prisoners robustly. We marvel at the ability of many staff to switch their approach as required. But staffing numbers are extremely tight. Early retirement offered to long serving officers a few years ago means that a high proportion of the staff are inexperienced. This is made more difficult because the prison service now recruits mainly young people, rather than bringing in older people who bring valuable life experience and skills from other jobs. As IMB volunteers we are very concerned that too many prisoners stay all day in their cells. This is also basically down to staff shortage: courses and activities are too often cancelled due to lack of staff, and not many activities are offered for dangerous prisoners, because these require a higher staff:prisoner ratio.
Deerbolt IMB is keen to find other volunteers to join our group. No particular background or experience is needed. You need to want to help vulnerable young people in difficult circumstances, and you must have time to spend about 4 half days per month at the prison. Our present team has both men and women and ages from the 20s to the 70s.” (for more information and to apply visit our current vacancies page).
Read the report in full here.