Improved outcomes for women and young adults held at Hydebank Wood.

Prison officers, health care and education staff have been commended by Inspectors for the ‘remarkable progress’ they have made to improve performance and outcomes for young men held at Hydebank Wood Secure College and Ash House women’s prison.
quote-with-caption-ASH-HBW.JPG"When Inspectors from CJI, HMIP, RQIA and ETI visited Ash House Women’s Prison and Hydebank Wood Secure College in late 2019, the Inspection Team found improvements had been made in three of the four ‘healthy prison’ tests,” said Jacqui Durkin, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.

“The areas of safety, respect and rehabilitation and release planning or resettlement were assessed to be at the highest level of ‘good,’ with the remaining category of ‘purposeful activity’ assessed at the second highest level of ‘reasonably good’ at both facilities,” said Ms Durkin.

“Levels of violence and incidents of self-harm at Ash House were found to be both lower than at the time of the last inspection and lower than at other women’s prisons in England and Wales inspected by HMIP.

“Outcomes for young men at the Secure College were dramatically better than at comparable prisons in England and Wales. It is encouraging that Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, recommended that those with responsibility for designing and delivering custodial services for young adults in England and Wales should study the findings of this report carefully and where appropriate, learn from it,” said the Chief Inspector.

With over two thirds of recommendations made in 2016 either fully or partially achieved at both facilities, these Inspections show what can be achieved when recommendations are approached in a constructive, positive way.

Ms Durkin said there were key areas where further improvements could be made by the Northern Ireland Prison Service including the development of an effective strategy to reduce the supply of drugs and providing more opportunities for the women and young adults to achieve higher level accredited qualifications and vocational skills that would improve their prospects of gaining employment on release.