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Prison receives glowing report

PUBLISHED: 11:37 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:55 05 July 2010

A north Suffolk prison has received a glowing report from assessors, although concerns were raised about some foreign prisoners being kept in beyond their release date and the poor state of some buildings.

A north Suffolk prison has received a glowing report from assessors, although concerns were raised about some foreign prisoners being kept in beyond their release date and the poor state of some buildings.

The Independent Monitoring Board has released its report on HM Prison Blundeston and says it is performing at the “highest” level.

Particular praise was given to its drugs strategy which has seen just 8pc of mandatory tests showing positive results for drugs, against a target of 11pc.

However, the board recorded its concern that some foreign nationals were forced to remain in prison after their release date because of immigration issues.

Foreign nationals make up about 100 of the 520 inmates at Blundeston and while it is understood those not released on time amount to only two or three at any one time, the report said: “Not only is it unacceptable for these prisoners to be denied their freedom, but also the prison service is denied much-needed space.”

The board said the construction of the new J wing at the category C prison put the poor conditions of F and G wings into perspective.

“We bring this subject up each year and we understand the problems high population levels bring, but in 2008 these two wings are just not good enough,” the report added.

The board praised the good relations between staff and prisoners and highlighted the “excellent” provision of education at the jail.

The report concludes: “Blundeston continues to perform to the highest level, in what are still testing times. The Prison Service has its methods in calculating how well prisons perform and Blundeston has been in the top 10 for the past two years. Congratulations are due to the governor and all the hard-working staff for another successful year.”

In relation to the issue of foreign prisoners, a spokesman for the UK Border Agency said it was increasing the number of overseas lawbreakers who were deported.

The number thrown out this year has already surpassed last year's figure of 4,200.

“When dealing with foreign national prisoners who pose a risk, our objective is that they should be deported immediately at the end of their sentence,” added the spokesman.

“Where this is not possible, for example due to complex legal and/or documentation issues, we may detain such individuals under immigration powers

No one from Blundeston prison was available for comment.

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