In its annual report for 2020/2021, the Leyhill IMB says that the strategies adopted and the resourcefulness displayed by the prison together with the cooperation shown by prisoners, minimised the cases of COVID within the prison.
Leyhill is an open prison yet, for most of the year, no prisoners were able to take on external employment due to the pandemic. Internally two areas of work within the prison are particularly commended by the IMB in their report.
- These areas have enhanced the numbers engaged in purposeful activity and also increased the prisoners’ chances of securing employment on release.
- The prison has been recycling five tons of waste weekly, thus reducing carbon levels and cost, while the plastic generated by the recycling of CDs has been used to produce homeless shelters.
- In the woodshop, prisoners have been producing panels for affordable homes, as part of the Agile Homes project which aims to reduce homelessness using renewable materials.
However, there are other matters, beyond the immediate control of the prison, which continue to cause concern:
- The shortage of approved premises which delays prisoners’ release dates, often for many months and this has been exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.
- Many prisoners remain serving indeterminate sentences for public protection(IPP), and have spent far longer in prison than those sentenced for the same offences in the years since the IPP scheme was discontinued.
IMB Leyhill Chair, Jane Holzgrawe, said “ Despite these concerning factors, during a very difficult year Leyhill has maintained its emphasis on community and inclusivity. ‘It is a credit to both staff and prisoners that Leyhill has continued to remain such a safe and secure environment.’