‘Remarkably safe’ Aylesbury Vale prison must improve education services following inspection

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Inspectors have praised the ‘remarkably safe’ conditions at an Aylesbury Vale prison containing inmates who committed serious crimes.

An unannounced inspection of HMP Grendon Springhill, carried out in May, has rated the prison as good when it comes to safety, respect, and rehabilitation. This matches the summary made by inspectors when the institute in Grendon Underwood was last marked in 2017.

However, members of the HM Inspectorate for Prisons lowered the rating for its purposeful activities from good down to the second-lowest rank of not sufficiently good.

This related to the training, education, and work activities provided by the prison to inmates during the day.

Inspectors heard how incumbents were sometimes “bored” in the afternoon. Further assessments from Ofsted stated the education services on offer ‘required improvement’ as well.
“There was a widespread hunger to do vocational training, even for those who had substantial time left to serve,” the report states

In total, inspectors made nine recommendations for how the facility can be improved, after the prison received the highest available grade in three of four key categories.

Staff must make four priority improvements according to the inspection.

  1. Improving the residential facilities that are not fit for purpose, an inspector remarked that repairs take too long at the prison.
  2. Ensuring that prisoners have access to GPs and that pharmaceutical medicines are provided and administered in a responsible way.
  3. Improving the way curriculum is delivered by vocational and therapeutic programmes.
  4. “The quality of education provision had deteriorated compared with the previous two inspections,” the report stated. Improving skills workshops was another vital instruction.

Five other key concerns were mentioned in the report:

  1. Prisoners’ pay had not increased in line with the cost of shop items, and some could no longer afford to buy what they needed, inspector’s discovered.
  2. Prisoners were not allowed outside often, even in their leisure time.
  3. Careers information, advice and guidance was not provided in a sufficiently timely manner, according to this year’s inspection.
  4. Prisoners with additional learning support needs did not receive the support they needed, inspectors found.
  5. Inmates with low reading skills were not supported, according to the unannounced inspection.

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