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Wales: Securicor prison at-risk.
Prison 'at risk' from low staffing

The safety of inmates and wardens at Wales' only privately-run jail cannot be guaranteed because staffing levels are too low.

The chief inspector of prisons, Anna Owers, revealed her concerns on Friday in a report into HM Parc Prison, near Bridgend.

The report said new staff were urgently needed in order to ensure the safety of prisoners and wardens.

Low staffing at the jail - managed by Securicor Custodial Services - meant that prison officers had to unlock inmates single-handedly, a practice considered as unsafe.

But the report by Ms Owers also praised the jail for its respectful and relaxed staff-prisoner relationships.

She recommended that "additional staff are urgently needed to ensure that levels of safety are maintained".

Problems and suicides

The 800-inmate prison, which holds adults, young offenders and juveniles on remand, opened in 1997.

The 82m jail has suffered a number of high-profile problems and suicides by inmates and has been dogged by disturbances.

In the report, the chief inspector praised staff for their "impressive commitment and motivation."

But added that risk assessments on inmates who had to share cells were carried out too late.

The report has been welcomed by Roy Woolford, the former director of Parc who is now Director of Custody and Rehabilitation for Securicor Justice Services.

"This is an extremely positive report which recognises the relaxed and respectful atmosphere which exists between staff and prisoners at Parc," he said.

"Our aim is to treat all those in custody with dignity and respect, while encouraging them to address the causes of their offending behaviour and to learn skills which help them stop re-offending after release," he added.

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