HMP and YOI Thorn Cross open prison has been given the highest rating of 'good' in four assessment areas: safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement. Inmates have access to good educational and vocational training opportunities and are given good levels of support when resettling back into the community.
The prison, based in Warrington in Cheshire, houses 380 inmates. The inspection took place in October, at which time nearly three quarters of the inmates were over thirty and the majority were serving sentences lasting over four years.
The report also found that very few prisoners felt unsafe, there was good support for new arrivals, drug and alcohol services were brilliant, and security was proportionate. There were a few prisoners at risk of self-harm, but those in crisis received adequate support. Inspectors found that staff-prisoner relationships were overwhelmingly positive, but more could be done to promote equality. More work opportunities were available, but underemployment was evident and pay rates were generally low. The current food provision was found to be very unpopular.
New recommendations from the HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Peter Clarke, included: improving food quality, ensuring prisoners had access to basic items such as cleaning materials, developing the diversity and equality inclusion policy and making sure prisoners' pay did not disadvantage those attending learning courses.
He added: "We concluded our inspection at a time when the prison was about to change governors so faced a time of potential disruption.
"The prison, however, was on a firm footing and well placed for the future. Managers and staff were to be congratulated for their hard work and success."