A DETENTION centre near Yarm that deals with the resettlement of inmates is being let down by other prisons, an independent report has revealed.

Kirklevington Grange, used as a resettlement centre for prisoners coming to the end of their sentences, is the only centre of its kind in the North of England.

A report by the prison's board of visitors - an independent monitoring panel - says extra pressure is being placed on Kirklevington by the failure of other prisons to vet their inmates before they arrive there.

Under a Home Office Prison Service Order issued in September last year, conventional prisons must prepare their inmates for release before they reach institutions such as Kirklevington.

But the report reveals that other jails are not doing this, which leaves Kirklevington's staff having to carry out the task on top of their own work, a situation that puts added pressure on an already stretched workforce.

Owen Evans, the board's chairman and author of the report, said: "The repercussions of this failure are quite stark.

"When we are fed prisoners, there are difficulties because we have to do the selection process ourselves.

"The prison is staffed at a very economical level, so if they have to do this and go to advise other prisons then the man hours in which they can do their normal jobs are clearly less.

"The management is also coming under pressure for something that is not in its budget. It is very disappointing because prisons were told in 2001 to improve their preparations for leaving inmates.

"We question whether it is a lack of commitment or funding at the other prisons, but it is not for us to answer that."

Kirklevington, which has a capacity for 183 inmates, handles most prisoner categories with an average prison sentence of about four years. It does not deal with sex offenders.

It gives help to inmates in finding jobs, looking for accommodation and getting back in touch with their families.

The board of visitors report, which said Holme House Prison, in Stockton, was an exception to the general rule of failing to comply, will now be sent to Hilary Benn, the Home Office Minister for Prisons.