Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has called the Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Holme House ‘damning’ and expresses his concerns that young offenders are being held at Holme House.
The report outlines a number of judgements including staffing levels being a cause for concern through the year, as well as sickness rates impacting negatively on all aspects of prisoners’ lives despite efforts to accommodate this. Easy access to illicit drugs has also impacted on the lives of prisoners and staff, which has resulted in increased levels of violence. Another conclusion of the report are that it is difficult to treat prisoners fairly at all times due to lack of resources.
Areas for development that have been suggested in the report include: asking the Government to address the issue of staffing by saying what plans are in place to improve staff recruitment; getting answers to why there is a proportion of Young Offenders at Holme House when they should be at a Young Offenders Institution.
Discussing the report, Alex Cunningham MP said:
“This report is damning on so many fronts and it is clear that despite the best efforts of the Governor and his team, things don’t appear to have improved. It is quite shocking to see it declare that drugs remain a major and growing issue; staff sickness levels remain very high; there are insufficient staff to ensure prisoners are treated fairly; and that Holme House is seeing more violence towards staff and between prisoners.
“I’m also concerned to learn that that young offenders are being held at Holme House when they ought to be in Kirklevington.
“I visited the prison last year to discuss the problems with drugs and lack of staff in particular and was assured that a new regime was paying off and staffing levels had increased. Sadly this report concludes otherwise.
“The failure of the Government to tackle the problems at Holme House which have seen little – if any – improvement in recent years is deeply disappointing and I will be writing to the Justice Secretary to demand a comprehensive inspection and an action plan to deal with the drugs problem; recruit, retain and support the necessary staff; create a proper regime to educate, support and rehabilitate prisoners; and hold contractors responsible for repairs to account for failing to carry out their contract effectively.”
For more information, contact Alex on 020 7219 7157 or on firstname.lastname@example.org