HMYOI Parc Juvenile Unit – safety had deterioriated

Although there was still much to commend at Parc, the deterioration in safety and general standards needed to be halted, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the young offender institution in South Wales.

HMYOI Parc’s young people’s unit can hold up to 64 boys aged under 18 and is located in the much larger Parc prison. It was last inspected in January 2016 and at that time, and in keeping with previous inspections, inspectors reported positively, although some deterioration was noted. At this more recent inspection, inspectors recorded further deterioration in safety and in maintaining a respectful and decent environment. Procedures and practice to support child protection and safeguarding had worsened significantly. Safety in general was not good enough.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • some 42% of boys said when surveyed that they felt victimised by others and 60% felt victimised by staff, which is a significant increase and worse than at comparable young offender institutions;
  • the number of assaults on staff had increased from two to 22 when compared to the six months prior to the previous inspection;
  • strategies, policies and initiatives existed which intended to reduce violence and intimidation and promote positive behaviour, but they were not applied consistently or effectively;
  • there was insufficient visible leadership on the unit and staff, while generally caring, lacked authority or confidence;
  • too many boys at risk of self-harm were left isolated and alone in their cell;
  • environmentally, standards and cleanliness were not good enough; and
  • the amount of time boys spent out of cell had worsened.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • security procedures on the unit were proportionate and had mitigated the influence of illegal drugs;
  • health care services were mostly good;
  • the delivery of learning and skills was starting to improve, with good quality teaching and good achievements by boys;
  • services to help boys resettle back into the community were improving and planning for release was generally satisfactory; and
  • work with families was excellent.

Peter Clarke said:

“The young offender institution at Parc has over recent years been one about which we have been very positive. Arguably it had been one of the best of such institutions and had a number of advantages, not least its small size. There remained still much to commend, notably the provision of learning and skills and resettlement services. The small number of boys held presented significant individual and behavioural challenges. That said, the deterioration in safety and general standards on the unit needed to be reversed. Systems and procedures were in place but they were not working. A firmer grip and visible leadership were needed urgently. Staff needed guidance and support and greater confidence in establishing their authority and exercising better control over what was happening.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, said:

“The Director at Parc has taken firm action in response to the Inspectorate’s findings.

“Both the custodial and teaching staff groups have been strengthened and 70 staff have received additional training to support them in working with children with complex needs. Since the inspection took place there has been a reduction in the number of incidents, fights and the use of restraint.

“As the Chief Inspector says, the regime at Parc has much to commend it, but providing a safe and respectful environment is crucial. Good progress has been made to address concerns and Parc are working with partners including the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Office to achieve sustained improvement”.

– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

  1. A copy of the full report, published on 18 April 2017, can be found here.
  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. HMYOI Parc’s young people’s unit holds up to 64 remanded and convicted young people. It is operated by G4S and is inspected annually.
  4. This unannounced inspection was carried out from 5-16 December 2016.
  5. Please contact Jane Parsons at HM Inspectorate of Prisons press office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452 if you would like more information.