An inspection of Hindley Young Offenders’ Institution has severely criticised the youth custody centre stating it is ‘struggling’ to keep vulnerable teenagers safe.
HMP and YOI Hindley opened in 1961 becoming a youth centre in 1983. In April 2009 Hindley became a dedicated centre for offenders under the age of 18. In December 2013 Hindley re-rolled to a split site to also house Young Offenders (18-21 year olds). The institution accepts Young People (15-18) who are on remand or sentenced, young people who are serving an IPP sentence and young Offenders (18-21) who are convicted with at least 2 years left to serve.
The damning review by the Chief Inspector of Prisons said fighting and assaults were happening on an almost daily basis at the prison’s ‘lower site’, which houses 161 boys aged 16 and 17. Boys kept at the centre spoke of intimidating shouting from windows and the report commented that conditions in the segregation unit ‘remained poor’.
The inspection found 251 reports of bullying and 167 self harm incidents in a period of just six months. The Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick stated that some improvements had been made, however, they were ‘fragile’. He has now called for a ‘fundamental review’ by the government looking into the treatment of youngsters whilst in custody.
Death in Custody
The number of such teenagers held in such centres has fallen dramatically over the years, however, a number of tragic cases have occurred. The inspection carried out by the Chief Inspectorate of Prisons was conducted whilst the inquest continued into the death of 17 year old Jake Hardy at Hindley who hanged himself in January 2012 after being bullied by other inmates. The inquest jury ruled failings by staff at HMP Hindley contributed to his death.
Mr Hardwick said:
“Overall, this inspection found some significant but necessary improvement at Hindley.
“However, these improvements are fragile. The boys Hindley holds are now more vulnerable and more challenging than ever and, as in other YOIs we have inspected, the evidence of this inspection suggests a much more fundamental review is required.”
However, responding to the report on behalf of Hindley, Michael Spurr, from the National Offender Management Service, commented:
“Hindley manages a very complex and challenging population and the Governor and his staff deserve real credit for the impressive progress they have made.”