A NORTH-East prison is making solid improvements, but needs to continue the work, according to an inspector’s report.

An unannounced inspection was carried out at HMP Holme House and the findings showed that:

  • levels of violence was low and prisoners felt safe
  • the care for prisoners identified as being at risk of suicide and self-harm was good and there were few self-harm incidents
  • and that the use of drugs was being addressed but the work had to be sustained.

However, inspectors had some concerns, including the fact there had been five self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection in 2010 and what appear to be two further self-inflicted deaths since this inspection.

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Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: “Holme House faces significant challenges and has to make a difficult transition to the new working arrangements its benchmarked staffing levels require.

"Despite these challenges, important progress has been made since the last inspection.”

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, added: "I'm pleased that the Chief Inspector recognises the progress that has been made at Holme House and the safe and purposeful environment it provides for the prisoners it holds. The improvements achieved are a credit to the Governor and her staff.

"We are determined to maintain momentum and once established the new working arrangements will ensure that we continue to deliver a good quality regime but at lower cost to the public.

"Action has already been taken to address the concerns about first night care and arrangements are in place to meet the wider recommendations in the report."