HMP Long Lartin had improved since its last inspection, but more needed to be done to meet the challenges it faces, said Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced short follow-up inspection.

Long Lartin is one of five high security dispersal prisons holding some of the most serious offenders in the prison system. Shortly before the inspection, it also began to receive detainees held under anti-terrorist legislation.

Improvements had been made in a number of key areas:

  • reception, suicide prevention and the safe housing of vulnerable prisoners (including those detained under terrorism legislation);
  • the quality and quantity of purposeful activity; and
  • better sentence planning and public protection arrangements and high quality offending behaviour programmes.

However, there were some areas which needed urgent improvement:

  • the night sanitation system was grossly inadequate and the grounds were littered with parcels of excrement;
  • anti-bullying procedures needed to strengthened to deal with the sophisticated forms of bullying to be found among serious offenders;
  • more improvements were needed in the segregation unit and managers needed to examine the scale of use of force in the unit, and its apparently disproportionate use against black and minority ethnic prisoners; and
  • policies for foreign nationals were underdeveloped, and this was thrown into sharp relief by the arrival of prisoners detained under anti-terrorism legislation, whose specific needs were not being met.

Anne Owers said:

"Long Lartin has made good progress. It still faces a number of challenges, most obviously the risks associated with managing the dangerous and difficult prisoners it houses, as well as the new challenge of responding appropriately to the particular needs of detainees held under anti-terrorist powers.

"Long Lartin is inhibited in achieving a decent environment by the consequences of a grossly inadequate night sanitation system. However, in many other areas, including purposeful activity and resettlement, staff and managers are to be commended for what they have achieved."

Phil Wheatley, Director General of the Prison Service, said:

"As the Chief Inspector acknowledges, Long Lartin is a high security prison which holds some of the most serious offenders in the system and it has taken a number of positive steps forward since the last inspection.

"While four wings in Long Lartin do not have integral sanitation, prisoners in these cells can access both toilet and shower facilities at any time. Managed effectively and respected by prisoners these facilities provide a decent living environment.

"A plan is being drawn up to address areas of concern highlighted by the Inspector - many are already in place - and I am confident the governor of Long Lartin and his team will continue to make further improvements to continue moving the prison forward."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The unannounced full follow up inspection of HMP Long Lartin took place between 19-23 September 2005.
  2. HMP Long Lartin is a high security male prison.
  3. Inspectorate reports and releases are available at http://inspectorates.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmiprisons.

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