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Inspectors: Warwickshire prison performing "very well"

Government inspectors have today reported that a prison for high-risk sex offenders in Warwickshire managed by G4S has some "real strengths" and is performing "very well"
Prison officers on landings

The independent inspection report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons into HMP Rye Hill near Rugby said that the prison’s offender management processes were among the best that they have seen and that public protection arrangements were sound.   

Rye Hill transitioned to become a sex offender only prison in July 2014 and inspectors found that this change was managed “well”.  As a result of the transition, the prison population is now much older but also high-risk with 45 per cent aged over 50 and three-quarters serving sentences of ten years or more at the time of inspection.  

Responding to today’s report, G4S Director for HMP Rye Hill, Richard Stedman said:

“Rye Hill’s transition from holding a mixed population to one for sex offenders only was complex and I am pleased that inspectors report that this was managed well.   We are now responsible for high-risk sex offenders, many of whom are serving very long sentences, and I am encouraged that inspectors found our offender management processes are strong and our public protection arrangements sound.  

“We are still managing the impact of the transition and we now look after a mixture of younger prisoners, whose offences were often violent, alongside a group of older men, many of whom abused their position of authority over many decades.  This brings tensions among the prisoner population and we have taken steps to reinforce to staff the risks that they and vulnerable prisoners face from grooming and exploitation.   

“While many of the men at Rye Hill will serve long sentences, the vast majority will eventually be released.  We will continue to provide the environment which promotes the change in attitudes and behaviour required to help lower the risk of re-offending so that prisoners’ time in custody is constructive and they pose a lower risk to vulnerable people within our communities.”

G4S Forensic and Medical Services is commissioned to provide physical health services to prisoners at Rye Hill. Responding to today's report, the managing director responsible, John Shaw, said:

"When Rye Hill’s purpose was changed from a mixed population to one looking after sex offenders only, the healthcare needs of the prisoners changed significantly.  We now look after prisoners with a higher average age - currently 47 - and their healthcare needs are more complex.

"We have examined the new needs of the prison population and worked with NHS England, the National Offender Management Service and prison colleagues to adjust the healthcare infrastructure and staffing levels.  This re-profiling will ensure we can meet the current and future healthcare needs of prisoners at Rye Hill.  While there is still work to be done, I am encouraged that an independent clinical audit in November showed that the service has improved.”

The report comes after Rye Hill's Independent Monitoring Board praised the transition to a sex offender only prison in their annual review published in September.