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HMP Kirkham, an open prison in Lancashire holding more than 600 men drawing close to the end of long sentences, nearly half for drugs offences, was found by inspectors to be a safe and successful prison.

HMP Wakefield, a high security jail holding some of the most challenging prisoners in the country, was found by inspectors to be calm, secure and decent.

HMP Ranby, a large training and resettlement prison holding around 1,000 men in north Nottinghamshire, had clearly improved from a drug-fuelled “state of crisis” three years ago, inspectors found in their most recent visit.

The prison service and local authorities are failing to plan for the future needs of a growing population of elderly, ill and frail prisoners, according to a report on social care in jails by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the Care Quality Commission.

HMP & YOI Chelmsford was found by inspectors to be a violent and unsafe prison, with large volumes of drugs smuggled in by the many organised crime gang members in the Essex jail.

HMP Exeter, holding more than 400 men from across the south west of England, was found by inspectors to be “very violent”, with widespread illicit drug use and poor living conditions apparently regarded by staff as normal.

An inspection of custody facilities run in a collaboration between Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies was “positive overall”, though inspectors identified some causes of concern.

HMP The Mount in Hertfordshire was found by inspectors to be a prison struggling to overcome significant difficulties, including high violence and staff shortages, but showing signs of improvement after a deterioration in performance over recent years.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke has questioned whether the Prison Service’s ‘special measures’ will be sufficient to address serious problems at HMP Bedford after inspectors found very high violence and inexperienced staff struggling to maintain control.

HMYOI Deerbolt – a young offender institution (YOI) and category C adult training prison in County Durham – was found by inspectors to be ‘reasonably good’ in terms of safety and respectful treatment for the 400 young men held there.