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3 Nov 2022

Howard League responds to Werrington prison inspection report

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prison’s report on Werrington Young Offenders Institute (YOI), published today (Thursday 3 November).

Inspectors visited the prison to review progress since their most recent inspection in January of 2022, and found high levels of violence. A number of serious assaults took place in the duration of the review, and inspectors found that conflict and poor behaviour management led to children being locked up for far too long and often unable to access education or other interventions.

Following from the 12 recommendations made in January, inspectors deemed progress insufficient or poor in eight areas.

In evaluating the institute, the report describes an environment where violence and conflict have become normalised. Staff morale was consequently low as they experienced “very high levels of assaults” and spent their time in separating children to prevent further altercations.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The Howard League believes it is crucial to keep children out of prison. But those that do end up in the care of the state must be allowed to grow and fulfil their potential in safe environments free from violence and conflict.

“This review of progress from Werrington YOI shows alarming levels of violence in an institution struggling to provide a purposeful regime for children. Both staff and the children are at risk due to high levels of assault, and children are being locked up without access to education.

“Governors must urgently work to ensure that the Inspectorate’s recommendations are implemented, most importantly starting with the establishment-wide strategy to reduce violence.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  2. The inspection report for Werrington is available on His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons website.



Noor Khan

Press and Public Affairs Officer

Mobile: +44 (0)20 7241 7873


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