HMYOI Glen Parva - an unsafe young offender institution

Despite some determined efforts by a new governor and her team, and some early and limited signs of improvement, outcomes for young men held at HMYOI Glen Parva were unacceptable in too many areas, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the young offender institution in Leicestershire.

Glen Parva held 659 young men aged 18 to 21 at the time of its inspection. This report is one of a sequence of HMI Prisons reports (Aylesbury, Brinsford, Feltham and Isis) which reveal serious concerns relating to young offender institutions of this type. Unless the young men held were safe, very little else would be achieved. Glen Parva was not safe.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • although the atmosphere was not tense, almost half of the young men held said they had felt unsafe at some time;
  • recorded levels of assaults on other prisoners and staff had risen by over a quarter over the last year;
  • inspectors saw evidence of prisoners charging ‘rent’ for cells with the threat of violence if this was not paid;
  • the prison was not on top of the availability of legal highs such as Spice, and the risks of debt and bullying this brought;
  • the response of many staff to this behaviour was poor and there was an unacceptable attitude among some staff that poor behaviour by detainees was inevitable;
  • the use of the segregation unit was high and the regime was inadequate and, while most of those in segregation were there as a punishment, some had committed their offences to get themselves placed away from the wings and safe;
  • there was a direct link between the high levels of bullying and levels of self-harm which the YOI itself had identified;
  • two men had killed themselves in 2013 and tragically another young man killed himself two months after the inspection;
  • there were still weaknesses in the assessment, care in custody and teamwork (ACCT) self-harm monitoring arrangements and some young men were not getting the support they needed;
  • half the population were doubled up in cells designed for one and many cells were dirty and lacked basic amenities; and
  • there were insufficient activity places available and those that were available were underused and of insufficient quality.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • innovative substance misuse services were very good and an example of best practice;
  • support for prisoners with disabilities was generally good, reflecting very good health care overall;
  • the prison had a good idea of what needed to be done and had introduced a new core day to improve access to activities and time out of cell;
  • the Trackworks railway maintenance workshop showed what could be done when high quality training, linked to good employment prospects, motivated prisoners to make good progress; and
  • practical resettlement services were reasonable and NACRO worked effectively to help prisoners find accommodation, employment or training.

Nick Hardwick said:

“Glen Parva is a concerning institution. Local management can do much to improve things. There was some reassurance that many of the problems at Glen Parva had been identified and there were plans in place to address them, which they had begun to implement before the inspection started. It is much too early to assess these changes. However, some of the challenges Glen Parva faces are outside its direct control and the planned review of arrangements for holding young adults, and the current independent inquiry into recent self-inflicted deaths among this age group, need to proceed urgently.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:

“The challenges presented by the young men held at Glen Parva should not be underestimated and on occasions the prison has struggled to cope. The Governor launched an improvement plan prior to this unannounced inspection and progress is being made. Safety is the Governor’s top priority and the YOI is now providing a safe and decent regime. We are reviewing future arrangements for young adult offenders in light of the wider concerns raised by the Inspectorate.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. Read the report.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
  3. This unannounced inspection was carried out from 31 March – 11 April 2014.
  4. HMYOI Glen Parva is a young offender institution holding sentenced, unsentenced and remanded young male adults aged 18-21.
  5. Further information about Lord Harris’s Independent Review into Self-Inflicted Deaths in NOMS Custody of 18 to 24-year-olds can be found here: (105 kB)
  6. Please contact Jane Parsons in HMI Prisons Press Office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452 if you would like more information or to request an interview with Nick Hardwick.