Burned U.K. Prison Was Beset By Troubles
(04/01/2011)

ARUNDEL, West Sussex An open prison where buildings burned to the ground during a riot on New Years Day was criticized in an inspection a month earlier, according to a recent report.

A team that visited Ford Open Prison several weeks before the trouble said it had serious concerns in several areas.

Team members claimed the prison was failing to prepare inmates for life outside the facility and that security was undermined by poor relationships between staff and prisoners.

More than 40 percent of inmates said it was easy to obtain illegal drugs at the prison.

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Staffing shortages meant random drugs tests could not be carried out as often as required and alcohol breath tests were deemed unsophisticated.

Around 40 inmates took part in riots on January 1 at the prison in Arundel, West Sussex in the U.K., after an attempted clampdown on contraband alcohol.

Some aspects of the prison were praised by inspectors, including care for vulnerable prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm.

Ford was also given a positive result for its healthcare and for improvements to inmates work, training and education.

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, said he welcomed the report.

We have put additional support in place to strengthen the management of the prison and we will use the recommendations in the report to improve the performance of the establishment, Spurr said. I am pleased the good work done by the prison on safety, suicide and self-harm, healthcare and improved security with fewer absconds has been acknowledged.

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