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Budget fears of Blundeston jail improvements

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:28 06 July 2010

Hayley Mace

Efforts being made to improve education, rehabilitation and training for inmates at Blundeston prison could be hit if budgets continue to be cut, a new report released has revealed.

Efforts being made to improve education, rehabilitation and training for inmates at Blundeston prison could be hit if budgets continue to be cut, a new report released has revealed.

The independent monitoring board (IMB) at the prison, just north of Lowestoft, has today published its annual report, which

shows that although performance at the prison continues to improve, government budgets are being slashed.

Next year, the prison's budget is being cut by more than £350,000 which, according to the report, will have detrimental effects on the level of staffing and services which can be offered.

The report said: “Cuts of approximately £377,000 are being made to HMP Blundeston's budget for the current year with further year on year cuts for three years.

“These cuts, in the view of the IMB, jeopardise the remarkable achievements of the governor and her staff…It is the staff, who actually some into direct contact with prisoners, who need to see adequate resources, rather than have their efforts undermined by increasing budget cuts.”

Michael Cadman, chairman of Blundeston prison's IMB, said: “Prison budgets have been cut year on year, and the IMB are deeply concerned that continuing cuts will jeopardise the success HMP Blundeston has achieved.

“Decisions about budgets are made at the highest level in government, and the IMB raises its concern to urge those with responsibility to provide sufficient funding to ensure adequate numbers of prison officers are available at all times within the prison and to maintain the funding for all the prisoner interventions currently available. These range from offending behaviour courses to a therapeutic community and from workshops providing NVQs and other qualifications to education at all levels.”

The report, which has been submitted to the minister of justice, revealed that about 500 of the 520 prisoners at Blundeston take part in some kind of purposeful or educational activity during the day, ranging from NVQ qualifications in textiles and digital photography to diplomas in waste management and forklift truck driving.

The prison is also piloting a virtual campus computer system, which is a web-based education and training system aimed at increasing the employability of prisoners on release.


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