Inspectors impressed by HMP Leyhill's open prison

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HMP Leyhill, which holds approximately 500 men over age 25, has had positive feedback in its role of preparing men for release back into the community. Those held there are grade D prisoners, who have committed serious offences - making their rehabilitation a complex and challenging task.

During the prison’s last inspection in 2012 only 20 per cent of the prisoners were imprisoned sex offenders, now this type of offence accounts for 60 per cent of the prison’s population.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: “HMP Leyhill was a safe and decent prison. The high standards inspectors saw in 2012 had not only been maintained, but improved upon.

“The outcome of this inspection is a credit to all of the staff at Leyhill and the way they have responded to the energetic and committed leadership given by the senior management of the prison.”

The inspection report was published today, Wednesday, January 25, after the unannounced inspection was carried out in September last year by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons - an independent inspectorate who review the conditions to promote positive outcomes of those detained and the public.

Inspectors were pleased to find that incidents involving violence, and self-harm were low and managed well. There was a reduction in the number of absconders and the use of illicit drugs.

Relationships between staff and prisoners were reported to be good, and the quality of teaching and learning was outstanding.

However, there was some concern about the prisoner’s Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) – a scheme which allowed prisoners to undertake activities in the community.

They were concerned about the number of placements available as these are an important part of the process of the resettlement and rehabilitation of offenders.

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: “I am pleased that the excellent work being undertaken at Leyhill has been recognised in this report.

“The quality of skills training, work and education are impressive, providing prisoners with the skills they need to secure new jobs and prevent re-offending on release.

“The Governor and her staff can be very proud of the quality of work they are doing on behalf of the public. They will use the recommendations in this report to further improve the prison.”

A copy of the full report, published on 25 January, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at:

Source: Gazette