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Eccleshall's Drake Hall prison wins praise from inspectors

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: March 18, 2014

By Alison Thomas

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DRAKE Hall prison and young offender institution has won praise from independent monitors for its work in rehabilitating prisoners, and treating the most vulnerable offenders.

The women’s prison on the outskirts of Eccleshall is providing “a safe and secure environment where prisoners are treated with decency and humanity”, according to a report released this week by the Independent Monitoring Board.

Its report singles out for praise a call centre set up as a joint venture with a commercial company, which gives women prisoners work experience, provides them with references and has already led to one job offer for a former prisoner.

“This project provides employment for 20 prisoners and is working well,” the report says.

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“However it attracted national publicity and some unjustified and ill-informed public criticism. Welcome support for this project was offered by the Ministry of Justice.

“Discussions are now under way to consider moving this project forward, possibly by developing a shift system. This would ensure fuller use of the facilities and would offer opportunities for more prisoners to participate.”

The report also says Drake Hall, which houses up to 315 women, is continuing to develop its resettlement ethos. And re-offending rates for prisoners released from the prison appear to illustrate its success. “Despite the challenges presented by the prison service’s relentless pursuit of greater savings, Drake Hall embodies the values expected of the women’s estate, “ it comments.

“In our last report we noted that despite the transfer to Drake Hall of women with more difficult and challenging behaviour, emphasis was continuing to be placed on the resettlement ethos of the prison,” it adds.

“We are pleased to be able to report that this continues and has been built on during the year.”

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