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HMYOI WETHERBY Prison Regime Info


York Road Wetherby West Yorkshire LS22 5ED image of HMYOI WETHERBY prison

Phone No.

01937 544 200

Governor / Director

Sara Snell


Juvenile (under 18)


Yorkshire and Humberside

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy


Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Mary Augustine
Vice Chair: Vacant

Visitor Info Page

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Online Library documents for HMYOI WETHERBY

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Public establishment holding male juveniles (under 18s).


A former Naval Base, HMYOI Wetherby was introduced into the Prison System in 1958 as a Borstal. Since that time there have been many changes in its role from an open Youth Custody Centre, to a closed Youth Custody Centre, to its current role as a dedicated Male Juvenile Centre housing 360 trainees aged between 15 & 17 years. Two units have been mothballed owing to the fall in the national juvenile population. Wetherby now holds just under 230 young people, excluding the specialist Keppel Unit


Keppel Unit

The Keppel Unit at HMYOI Wetherby opened in October 2008 and was designed to offer a safe and supportive environment for up to 48 15-17 year old young men from Yorkshire and Humberside who could not cope in the mainstream prison system.

Click Here for more information about the Keppel Unit from the YJB

Anson Unit

The Anson unit is now the only dedicated juvenile unit in England and Wales for young
people with life or long-term determinate sentences. The specialist unit manages these young people towards release or transition to other establishments to serve their sentence.

Anson – long-term determinate and life-sentenced young people.
Benbow – first night facility and standard accommodation
Collingwood – standard accommodation
Drake – standard accommodation
Reception Criteria:
Sentenced Trainees – Receive juvenile trainees serving a Detention & Training Order Sentence of up to 2 years direct from sentencing courts within the catchment area of Humberside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and designated areas of Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Trainees who come from outside of this catchment area will normally only be received with prior arrangement through the Youth Justice Board “Clearing House”.

By prior arrangement with Section 53.2/91 Unit at HQ to receive sentenced juveniles serving less than 4 years. There are arrangements to receive sentenced juveniles serving more than 4 years.

Un-sentenced young people – Receive juvenile un-sentenced young men who are remanded into custody by courts from within the above catchment area.



Own bedding (enhanced)
Playstation (enhanced)
Television (£1 per week)



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07:30 - 12:30, 13:30 - 18:00 & 18:00 - 20:15


07:30 - 12:30, 13:30 - 18:00 & 18:00 - 20:15


07:30 - 12:30, 13:30 - 18:00 & 18:00 - 20:15


07:30 - 12:30, 13:30 - 18:00 & 18:00 - 20:15


07:30 - 12:30, 13:30 - 18:00 & 18:00 - 20:15


07:30 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 17:30


07:30 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 17:30



18:00 - 20:15


18:00 - 20:15


18:00 - 20:15


18:00 - 20:15


18:00 - 20:15


08:35 - 10:15, 10:15 - 11:30, 14:00 - 15:15 & 15:30 - 16:45


08:35 - 10:15, 10:15 - 11:30, 14:00 - 15:15 & 15:30 - 16:45

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The Physical Education Programme offers trainees the provision of up to 7 hours PE per week. The PE provision is a mix of formal accredited work and a development of leisure activities. The programme links into the individual timetables.

The department is involved with external organisations that use sport as a tool to tackle social and lifestyle issues.


Sports available include;

Circuit Training
Light Circuit Training
Soft Tennis
Sports Field
Weight Loss Programme
Weight Training

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One hour per week

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Every prison has a Chaplaincy department managed by a Co-ordinating Chaplain and supported by admin staff, other Chaplains and ‘Sessional Chaplains’ (faith leaders who visit for specific services or sessions). The Chaplaincy is considered an important part of the prison structure. When a prisoner arrives at a prison they are usually seen by a Chaplain within 24 hours and are invited to register as a specific religion (if they haven’t already done so) and can change their declared religion at any time.

The Chaplaincy does far more than just pastoral care; they often are able to lend radios, musical instruments and typewriters; they may take part in Sentence Planning and are available as a ‘listening ear’ and are able, sometimes, to help with domestic problems. Most Chaplaincies run various courses and activities which may or may not have a religious theme. Every prisoner has the right to follow their religious practices and attend Chapel for services pertaining to their declared faith (even when segregated).

The Chaplaincy are able to organise faith activities for all main religions (as recognised by the Prison Service; this does not, at present include Rastafarian as a specific religion) and contact faith representatives to visit individual or groups of prisoners for the purpose of religious activities. The chaplaincy can also intercede on matters of religious dress, diet and artefacts. A full list of permitted artefacts can be found in the Glossary Section under Religious Artefacts.

You can contact the Chaplaincy by letter or by telephoning the main prison number and asking to speak to the Chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy works as part of the prison and cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality (they can explain this to you in detail). Prisoners can contact the Chaplaincy in person or by Application.

Chaplaincy Statement of Purpose (HMPS)
The Chaplaincy is committed to serving the needs of prisoners, staff and religious traditions by engaging all human experience. We will work collaboratively, respecting the integrity of each tradition and discipline. We believe that faith and the search for meaning directs and inspires life, and are committed to providing sacred spaces and dedicated teams to deepen and enrich human experience. We contribute to the care of prisoners to enable them to lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.

The Acting Co-ordinating Chaplain at Wetherby is: Imam Yunus Miah

Full-time Anglican, Free Church and Muslim Chaplains. Part-time Catholic Chaplain.

A Multi-Faith Centre provides facilities for any other faith.

The establishment has a pro-active team that contributes to the pastoral care of both staff and trainees. There are weekly C of E and RC services and Muslim prayers. A full-time chaplain leads the team.

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Dentist Availability

Twice per week

Optician Availability

As required

Acupuncture Availability

As required

Stop Smoking Availability

As required


Community links

InReach Availability

As required

The establishment has a small 6 bedded Health Care Centre which is run by appropriately qualified nursing staff whom provide 24 hours medical cover. The doctor attends the establishment in the mornings daily (except Sunday). The Health Care Centre manages primary health care needs.


NHS Healthcare Information for Wetherby

Prison Healthcare Manager: John Murphy
Tel: 01937 544200

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust


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The Manchester College
The Manchester College, Offender Learning Directorate, Fielden Compus, Burlow Manor Road M1 3HB
Tel: 0800 068 8585

Career Information & Advice Services (CIAS)
Working Links
Head office: Unicorn House, Bromley, Kent BR1 1NX
Tel: 020 8212 8255

HMYOI Wetherby has a tradition of offering ½ time education and skills training. The core day activities are built around this principle, and all offer some form of national accreditation.

Courses are provided in a variety of subjects and individual timetables are developed to meet the trainee's needs in conjunction with the sentence planning process.


Classes include;

Basic Education
Computer Studies
Creative Writing
Key Skills
Life and Social Skills


OFSTED inspect education establishments from schools to colleges to prisons. They inspect education facilities within prisons, however, we could not find an inspection report for HMYOI Wetherby.



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Skills Training is provided in the following areas;

Electrical Assembly
Industrial Cleaners
Information Technology
Mechanical Repair
Motor Mechanics
Paint & Decorating

All skills training is offered on a needs basis that contributes to sentence planning process and links into the individual timetables.


Current wage for employed

£2.50 - £12.50


£4.00 / £6.00 / £8.00 (IEP based)

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Access (coping skills)



TEAM (emotional awareness management)


Family Days Available


Guardian Has To Stay


Own Children




No of Visitors Permitted


Family days allow the young person to have time with his family

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Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for this prison: 4
This is on a scale from 1 (serious concerns) to 4 (Exceptional) and is worked out by the Ministry of Justice taking into account 34 criteria such as overcrowding, purposeful activities etc. A score of 3 is considered a good performance. Published quarterly.

Average weekly hours of Purposeful Activity: 34.2 (2010)
This figure is supplied by each prison to the Prison Service. Actual hours are usually dependent on activities etc. and should be taken as the maximum time either in workshops or education over a whole week.
Both of these figures are published retrospectively by the MoJ and HMPS and may have changed since the figures were published but they give a simple comparison between prisons.

Annual Budget: £16,000,000 (2010/2011)
Annual cost per prisoner: *£41,667
Weekly cost per prisoner: *£801
The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare. In total NOMS costs about £5,000,000,000 which divides to about £58,825 per prisoner.
The annual cost per prisoner allows a rough comparison between prisons.
* These figures are based on budget divided by Operational Capacity. Actual population will vary during the course of the year.

  • The total budget across the prison estate is: £1,990,000,000
  • The average prison budget is £16,000,000
  • The average annual cost per prisoner is £27,219
  • The average weekly cost per prisoner is £523

This prison is 11/124 on cost per prisoner (1 is highest cost)

Parliamentary Information
CONSTITUENCY: Elmet and Rothwell
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Alec Shelbrooke (Conservative)

Prisoners may write to either their ‘Home MP’ or the MP in whose constituency their current prison lies.
The address to write to is:
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA



Most prisons now have PIN phones. Your relative or friend usually needs to apply to have your name and number on his/her telephone account. You will usually receive a call from the prison to check who you are and to ensure you are happy for them to call you. Prisoners cannot receive telephone calls.

There is no restriction on who prisoners can call except in the case of calls to journalists intended to be broadcast. In some cases child protection measures may mean extra checks on who they call.

Prisoners can normally make calls only during ‘association’ periods. Some prisons limit the length of time a call can last to avoid queues and people being disappointed. Prisoners’ telephone calls are very expensive; calls to landlines now cost 10p per minute and 37.5 p to mobiles (compared to 2p in a public phone box). In most prisons the phone calls can be listened to and/or recorded.

If a prisoner is newly convicted or transferred they should be offered an immediate ‘Reception’ phone call to tell you where they are. It may take a few days for numbers to be transferred or added.

When you write to a prisoner you must include your full name and address. In most prisons the letters are searched and can be read before being given to the prisoner.

You can write about anything but letters must not be obscene, name ‘victims’, or be a threat to discipline or security. Do not enclose any items with letters. Make sure you put sufficient postage to cover the costs (anything bigger than A5 counts as ‘large’). Prisoners can normally receive a ‘reasonable’ number of letters per week.

If you send greetings cards these should be of reasonable size and not padded or pouched. Do not send musical cards. If you are sending more than one card put them all inside one outer envelope, this saves postage. Remember to include your full details (you could put your details on a ‘Post-It’ note stuck to the card or include a letter which has your details).

Always put the prisoner’s full name and prison number. If the person has been moved their mail will be forwarded.

On conviction or transfer a prisoner should be given a ‘Reception’ letter to write to tell you where they are.

Prisoners are given a free letter each week to post out, they can send more, but at their own expense. Some prisons allow you to send in stamps.

You can usually send in photographs but in some prisons these must not include any image of the prisoner. Child protection measures may mean that some prisoners may not receive pictures of children, unless they are their own and were not ‘victims’. If you send pictures of children include an explanatory note identifying who the children are and their relationship to the prisoner.

It is not a good idea to send cash, this can get ‘lost’ in the prison. Prisons prefer postal orders, but you could send a cheque. Make these payable to ‘H M Prison Service’, write your name on the back and also the prisoner’s full name and prison number. Any money sent which is deemed to be ‘anonymous’ can be stopped.
Money you send is paid into the prisoner’s ‘Private Cash’ account and they get access to a certain amount (depending upon IEP) each week [currently £15.50 for Standard prisoners].

For full information about visits please refer to our ‘Visit Info’ section for this prison. Visits are very important to prisoners. At most prisons you may not give any item to the prisoner. Any items you wish to give them must usually be posted to the prison, and often after the prisoner has placed an ‘application’ for authorisation to have it sent in. The items which can be posted in are very limited. Check with the prisoner first and wait until they confirm that you can post it.

If there is a serious emergency - close family serious illness, death, or other reason you need to inform the prisoner immediately, you should telephone the main prison number and explain the problem to the operator who will transfer you to the appropriate person. If you are unhappy about their response redial and ask to speak to the Chaplaincy. Prison staff will not pass on general messages but only critical and very urgent messages. You should provide full details of the prisoner including their number.

Support and Advice
There are many very good charities and agencies who offer support and advice to people with family or friends in prison. We have a special section ‘Help/Support’ which has details and contact information for many of these. Do not hesitate or feel shy about calling any of these; they are there to offer support and advice.

Story Book Dads/Mums
Story Book Dads/Mums operates at this prison.
The imprisoned parent records a story and a message which is then edited and enhanced using digital audio software and editors remove mistakes and add sound effects and music. Finally a CD is made, a personalised cover created, and the finished disc sent to the child. The whole service is free.

Click Here for more information


Prison Video Link (PVL)
All prisons with video link facilities have at least one courtroom and two briefing rooms where the defendant can hold a conference with their solicitor before and, if required, after their court hearing.

If court hearings are not taking place it may be possible for solicitors, barristers and Probation Officers to hold interviews with a prisoner via video link to save having to visit the prison.

The facility is also available to assist the Parole Board in dealing with oral hearings.
It should be noted however that court hearings must take priority.

At other times, operational reasons may mean bookings are refused or cancelled at short notice.

To book the Video Link facility telephone: 01937 544200 ext 4243

Drug Strategy

HMYOI Wetherby says;
"The Governor and staff at Wetherby are wholly committed to the reduction of illegal drug use in Prison, to provide a safe and healthy environment for those who live and work there. All reasonable measures, including Mandatory Drug Testing, Suspicion Drug Testing, and Frequent Drug Testing, will be used to reduce drug misuse within the establishment."


Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP)

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons for England and Wales (HMI Prisons) is an independent inspectorate which reports on conditions for, and treatment of, those in prisons, young offender institutions and immigration detention facilities. They provide independent scrutiny of the conditions for and treatment of prisoners and other detainees, promoting the concept of 'healthy prisons' in which staff work effectively to support prisoners and detainees to reduce reoffending or achieve other agreed outcomes.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) is appointed from outside the Prison Service, for a term of five years. The Chief Inspector reports to Ministers on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons in England and Wales.

The Inspectorate’s programme of inspection is based on a mixture of chronology and risk assessment. Full inspections run on a five or three year cycle; all unannounced follow-up inspections run on a risk-assessed basis.

Full inspections
Prison establishments holding adults and young adults are inspected once every five years. Establishments holding juveniles are inspected every three years. This type of inspection lasts for at least one week. The Inspectorate collects information from many sources, including the people who work there, the people who are imprisoned or detained there, and visitors or others with an interest in the establishment. Inspection findings are reported back to the establishment’s managers. Reports are published within 16 weeks of inspection. The establishment is then expected to produce an action plan, based on the recommendations made within the report, within a short period following publication.

Full follow-up inspections
Follow-up inspections are unannounced and proportionate to risk. In full follow-up inspections inspectors assess progress made and undertake in-depth analysis of areas of serious concern identified in the previous full inspection, particularly on safety and respect.

Short follow-up inspections
Short follow-up inspections are also unannounced and conducted where the previous full inspection and their intelligence systems suggest that there are comparatively fewer concerns.

Escort inspections
Three escort inspections are conducted every year.

Pre-inspection visit
One month prior to each full announced inspection, an inspector will visit the establishment to plan the inspection and request a range of preliminary information. In addition, researchers will attend to conduct a confidential survey of a representative proportion of the prisoner population. Results from the prisoner survey are provided for inspectors prior to the inspection and constitute an important source of evidence.

The inspection

All inspections are conducted against the Inspectorate's published inspection criteria, 'Expectations'. Expectations' are based on international human rights standards, as well as Prison Service Orders and Standards, and over all issues considered essential to the safe, respectful and purposeful treatment of prisoners in custody and their effective resettlement.
'Expectations' is the document which sets out the detailed criteria HMI Prisons uses to appraise and inspect prisons. These criteria are used to examine every area of prison life, from reception to resettlement, including;

• safer custody
• health services
• good order
• work
• diversity
• resettlement

The concept of a healthy prison is one that was first set out by the World Health Organisation, but it has been developed by this Inspectorate, and is now widely accepted as a definition of what ought to be provided in any custodial environment. It rests upon four key tests:

• safety: prisoners, even the most vulnerable, are held safely
• respect: prisoners are treated with respect for their human dignity
• purposeful activity: prisoners are able, and expected, to engage in activity that is likely to benefit them
• resettlement: prisoners are prepared for release into the community, and helped to reduce the likelihood of reoffending

Post-inspection action
Inspection reports are published within 16 weeks of the inspection. Prior to publication, the Prison Service (or whoever is responsible for the establishment) is invited to correct any factual inaccuracies within the report. The establishment is then expected to produce an action plan, based on the recommendations made in the report, within two months of publication. A progress report on the action plain is produced after a further 12 months.


Last Inspection by HMCIP:
30 January – 3 February 2012 Announced inspection

Published: August 2012

Reasonably safe but continuing trouble with escort contractors

They said:
“At the time of this inspection, HMYOI Wetherby held 340 boys, most of whom were aged 16 and 17, although a few were a year younger or older. Forty-eight young people were held on the self-contained Keppel Unit which we have inspected and reported on separately. The most striking feature of Wetherby was the wide range of the young people held, the challenge some of them posed and the extreme vulnerability of others. Some of the most challenging were also the most vulnerable. It is in this context that the report should be read.

“ Most young people were reasonably safe at Wetherby but there were areas that needed attention. It was not acceptable that the new escort contract was still causing problems. Some young people arrived very late which risked the most vulnerable young people at the most vulnerable time not getting the attention they needed. This has plagued a number of establishments, has gone on too long and needs to be sorted out.

“ Reception processes were also marred by the automatic strip searching of all new arrivals who had not come from another Prison Service establishment – so a young person arriving from a privately run secure training centre would be strip searched; a young person arriving from another young offender institution would not. Not all staff had their names visible on their uniform which was a particular problem for new arrivals. It was hard to understand why staff were reluctant to do this as notice boards with staff names and photos were on display in the units.

“ Staff were positive about the new ‘ABC’ anti-bullying strategy which appeared to be having a positive impact. The ABC policy addressed both the behaviour of the bully and provided support for the victim. Fewer young people said they had been bullied than in comparable establishments or than at the time of the previous inspection. Staff were vigilant about intimidatory shouting out of windows at night and good monitoring had reduced bullying around the use of the shop. The use of force was subject to detailed scrutiny and had reduced considerably over the previous six months.

“ Suicide and self-harm prevention was generally sound, although the quality of documentation was variable. An initial action plan had been developed in response to a self-inflicted death the previous year and was regularly reviewed. Child protection procedures were efficient but some elements currently lacked sufficient independence; however, we were pleased that local authority involvement had increased and the imminent addition of three social workers would strengthen the arrangements further. A member of the safeguarding team checked all complaints which was good practice.

“ The care and separation unit was, in reality, an old-fashioned segregation unit, whatever the title. Its use had been reduced but nevertheless young people were still sent there as a punishment. The environment was bleak, young people spent most of the day locked in their cell and there was little effort to address their behaviour or prepare them for reintegration back onto the main units. Governance of the unit was not part of the remit of the safeguarding committee and this needed to be corrected.

“ The environment was generally satisfactory and young people’s perception of their relationships with staff had improved since the last inspection. There was some good work on diversity. Most young people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds reported similar experiences to their white counterparts, with the exception that a much greater proportion said they had been victimised by staff. We did not find evidence to support this perception but the reasons for it and some monitoring data needed to be investigated further. There was very good support for foreign national prisoners who were accommodated together on one unit, which also housed an impressive cultural centre. The chaplaincy was a visible and valued presence throughout the establishment.

“ Mental health services were well resourced and we noted much good practice. Mental health nurses worked in reception to identify young people who might need support and saw every boy who needed it quickly. They worked closely with unit staff and caseworkers. Speech and language and occupational therapists also provided valuable support. Health care was generally good.

“ Education and learning assessments were good and included screening for dyslexia and other hidden disabilities. The special educational needs coordinator provided excellent support. There was a broad range of courses to meet most needs but provision for more able boys or those serving long sentences was less satisfactory. Attendance and punctuality at education had improved but poor behaviour was still a problem in some lessons. Resettlement provision was generally very good and the needs assessment was excellent. Making sure that young people had somewhere to live on release was a problem and the establishment’s partnership with ‘Transitional Plus Care’ to provide accommodation for looked after children appeared to be a very good initiative that should be properly evaluated and, if successful, replicated elsewhere.

“ There was very good use of release on temporary licence (ROTL) to enable young people to take up work experience placements. Most young people had an education, training or work placement to go to on release and work had begun to track their progress after release. I met one young person leaving the establishment to go to a placement with a local charity. Like all of those on ROTL, staff made a point of providing encouragement when he left in the morning and welcoming him back after work. He was well-motivated and positive about the support he had received.

“ There was a good range of programmes to address young people’s offending behaviour and significantly more young people than before thought the help they had received would reduce the likelihood of them reoffending after release.

“ About half of the young people were more than 50 miles from home and 14% were more than 100 miles away. Either because of distance or because relationships with their families had broken down, some young people received no or very few visits. The visits hall was not a welcoming environment and the visitors centre was a limited facility. Arrangements for booking visits were poor. There were no efforts to identify and address issues with young people who had very few visits.

“ A few days before the inspection two boys had died elsewhere in youth custody. There had been a self-inflicted death at Wetherby itself the previous April. Walking round the establishment, the vulnerability of some of the young people held was obvious. One boy in the segregation unit with a lifelong medical condition that would have been hard for any teenager to manage, and who had exhibited very disruptive behaviour, asked me tearfully if I could take him home to his mum. I was later told he had been moved to a more appropriate secure medical facility. Another boy, who looked about 12 and was sporting a dramatic black eye, had been convicted of a serious offence, had been in further trouble and was confined to his cell. A boy in health care, described to me as ‘low’, lay on his bed not speaking. All these boys were receiving good attention and care, but you feared for them all.

“ Of course, that was not the whole story. All the young people in Wetherby had been convicted of or were on remand for serious offences that had caused harm and distress to their victims. A group of boys working in one of the serveries were boisterous and cheerful – probably a bit of a handful – but even they were more subdued and troubled when I came across them individually later. A group of cleaners on one of the units, comfortably ensconced in a store room, appeared very pleased with themselves and needed better supervision.

“ Overall, Wetherby provided reasonably good outcomes for most of the young people it held and some of the work it did – the care for young people with mental health problems for instance – was excellent. It had some weaknesses that need to be addressed; the poor segregation unit was notable among these. However, the greatest concern was the vulnerability of some of the young people held and the difficulty of holding them safely in a large establishment with a wide spread of population a long way from home – and that raises issues about how young offenders should be dealt with that cannot be resolved in one establishment alone.

Nick Hardwick May 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Click Here to read the full report


The Keppel Unit

Last Inspection by HMCIP:
13 – 16 February 2012 Unannounced short follow-up inspection

Published: August 2012

Serious concerns

They said:
“The Keppel unit at HMYOI Wetherby opened in October 2008 and was designed to offer a safe and supportive environment for up to 48 15–17-year-old young men who could not cope in the mainstream prison system. We carried out a post-opening inspection in April 2009 which was commissioned by the Youth Justice Board. At that time, we described the Keppel unit as an impressive facility, achieving a great deal with some very damaged young people with a range of complex problems. We also noted some areas for improvement and made recommendations accordingly. This inspection, carried out almost three years later, follows up on those recommendations and also addresses some issues we identified during this inspection. Short follow-up inspections focus on recommendations made at the last full inspection and so do not provide an assessment of the prison as a whole.

“ The needs of the young people held at Keppel remained very challenging and in some areas had increased since the last inspection. The proportion of young people with mental health problems, physical disabilities, previous time in care, learning difficulties and low levels of numeracy and literacy remained high. Levels of self-harm had increased. The population statistics provided to us by the establishment indicated that there were more young people who were a long distance from their home and more who had committed violent offences, including sex offences. We were also told anecdotally that there had been an increase in the number of young people coming directly from court.

“ Despite these challenges, the Keppel unit remained fundamentally safe. The living conditions were still good and staff cared for young people with a great deal of sensitivity, were appreciative of their different needs, and provided a high level of individual support. The unit continued to be a busy and purposeful place and young people who were discharged to their communities were well prepared for release. The few young people who transferred to the main prison continued to receive support from Keppel staff, as did those who transferred to young adult establishments, but in reality those young people were likely to find the adjustment from such a supportive environment difficult.

“ However, some of these challenges could not be met without help from other stakeholders such as the local authority children’s services and the local safeguarding children board. The establishment had lost its social work support since the previous inspection but the prolonged funding negotiations had at last been resolved and Wetherby had been funded to increase its previous social work complement threefold. Additionally, the involvement of the local authority had slowly improved and the local authority designated officer (LADO) was beginning to attend safeguarding meetings and regular meetings with the governor when concerns were raised about staff. More involvement with the LADO was welcome but an appropriate level of independent scrutiny of the Keppel unit, which is a unique resource for the most vulnerable children in the YOI estate, was critical and there was still no formal agreement. That was a joint responsibility between the establishment and the local safeguarding children board which needed to be resolved.

“ Two of our main recommendations in the previous report were directed to the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and related to our view that there was a need to review the needs of vulnerable young people across the juvenile estate and then have greater clarity about the role of the Keppel unit within an overarching national strategy. In addition to the development of a clear strategy, we recommended that the role and function of the Keppel unit was clarified with clear, consistent support from the centre. These recommendations had not been fully achieved. The recent recently published YJB strategy for the secure estate1 includes the development of specialist units and that is welcome. However, it will inevitably be several years before the Keppel unit becomes just one part of specialist provision for very vulnerable children in custody. In the meantime, there needs to be improved monitoring and support of the Keppel unit from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the YJB.

“ Monitoring of the overall throughput of the unit is critical. The YJB placement protocol states that the YJB and the unit will review the situation onsite regularly to ensure that the most appropriate young people are on the unit, but we found no evidence that this took place. The influx of eight young people with histories of serious self-harm over a two-week period in January made it very difficult for staff to complete all the required assessments and initial care plans within the timescale required. It also affected their capacity to sustain the high level of support required for the vulnerable young people they were already caring for. At a strategic, national level, we could find no system in place to monitor referrals to the unit or acceptance or rejection of referrals for fairness. Ninety-five per cent of young people on the unit were white British.

“ Support from the centre is equally important. The establishment’s placement protocol with the YJB outlines the process of referral, assessment and acceptance for a place at the Keppel Unit and states that staff should be trained and experienced in working with young people with specific needs. In this report we point to areas where additional resources are needed, for example learning support to meet the high level of need of the population. External support may also be needed to improve family contact since long distances from home and difficulties in maintaining family contact is an obvious consequence of the Keppel unit’s status as a single national resource. We had concerns about the response to the significant increase in self-harm we found. There was no evidence that any consideration had been given by either the YJB or NOMS centrally, to assess whether additional resources were required to help the unit to manage this additional risk.

“ Keppel unit staff at all levels are to be commended for their collective and individual commitment to the care of this vulnerable group of young people. It is welcome that the YJB are committed to developing further specialist units in the long-term. In the meantime, we believe that a review is needed of the central support and resources provided to the Keppel unit as the sole national resource for particularly vulnerable young people who have different needs to the population in mainstream young offender institutions. That needs to be done without further delay.”

Nick Hardwick April 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Click Here to read the full report

Previous Report
HMYOI Wetherby - The Keppel Unit
by HMCIP: 20 – 24 April 2009 - announced inspection

They said
“The Keppel Unit at HMYOI Wetherby opened in October 2008 and was designed to offer a safe and supportive environment for up to 48 15-17 year old young men from Yorkshire and Humberside who could not cope in the mainstream prison system. This post-opening inspection found it to be an impressive facility, achieving a great deal with some very damaged young people with a range of complex problems. However, there remained a lack of clarity about the unit’s role and its catchment area.

“Despite the range of vulnerabilities and challenges posed by the young people received at Keppel, it was a fundamentally safe place. Early days were well managed, although it was disappointing and inappropriate that routine strip-searching took place on arrival. There were some procedural frailties in safeguarding and child protection arrangements, but there was little self-harming, little bullying and young people felt safe. A specially selected and committed staff group ensured a supportive environment, with appropriate boundaries and little need to resort to formal sanctions or the use of force.

“The accommodation was excellent, as were relations between staff and young people. However, some important procedures, for example to ensure appropriate responses to diversity and manage complaints effectively, remained in their infancy. The chaplaincy and healthcare both provided good levels of support.

“Staff ensured that Keppel Unit was a busy and purposeful place. Learning and skills were generally of a high order, although a greater focus on vocational training was required. Teaching staff had had some notable success in re-engaging disaffected young people with education, but even more investment was required in learning support to address the acute levels of need.

“The unit had some good care planning arrangements to address risk and need, and appropriately structure young people’s time. A range of interventions was available to address most, but not all, presenting issues. However, the unit had become a de facto national resource with a significant number of young people coming not just from outside Yorkshire and Humberside, but from as far away as Southampton. This unplanned evolution into a national role placed a strain on effective resettlement and limited the much needed involvement of some young people’s families.

“The Keppel Unit is among the most impressive custodial facilities to have opened in recent years. In a very short time, a committed group of staff have established a safe, supportive and purposeful unit in which the risks and needs posed by some very damaged and complex young people are effectively addressed. However, after only a few months in existence, the unit is already a victim of its own success, with referrals coming from across the country rather than merely from its original northern catchment area. This strategic drift is unhelpful and inhibits resettlement and family ties. The Youth Justice Board and the Prison Service need to clarify the unit’s role and, perhaps, replicate it in the south of the country, to help meet the evident need and to ensure that this much needed resource can fulfil its immense potential.

Anne Owers July 2009
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Click here to read the full report


Independent Monitoring Board

By law every prison and immigration removal centre must have an Independent Monitoring Board. IMBs in prisons derive their responsibilities from the Prison Act 1952 (Section 6). Prison Rules dealing with IMDs are numbers; 74 to 80

IMBs were known as ‘Boards of Visitors’ and are still referred to in the legislation under their old titles, although this is likely to change in the near future.

The Independent Monitoring Board for each establishment is made up of independent and unpaid volunteers from the local area. They monitor the day-to-day life in the establishment and ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Members have unrestricted access to all areas of the prison at all times and can talk to any prisoner they wish, out of sight and hearing of a members of staff. They visit all areas such as; kitchens, workshops, accommodation blocks, recreation areas, healthcare centre and chaplaincy.

If a prisoner or detainee has an issue that they have been unable to resolve through the usual internal channels, they can place a confidential request to see a member of the IMB. Problems might include concerns over lost property, visits from family or friends, special religious or cultural requirements, or even serious allegations such as bullying. In addition, if something serious happens at the prison, for example a riot or a death in custody, IMB members may be called in to attend and observe the way in which it is handled.

IMB members sample food, can attend adjudications and should visit people held in the segregation unit. They must also be kept informed on such issues as the use of restraints.

The IMB meets regularly, usually once per month, and has an elected Chair and Vice Chair. Members work together as a team to raise any matters of concern and to keep an independent eye on the prison.


CLICK HERE - to read the latest IMB reports for any prison.
Click on the year and then select the prison.

Information in this section has been kindly provided by the individual prison and the Ministry of Justice. This is supplemented with information from various government websites, Inspectorates and IMB reports and specialist departments within the Prison Service, government, and regional assemblies/parliaments.
Some of the data is published retrospectively: IMBs/Visiting Committees publish their reports up to 6 months after the end of the reporting period and at different times throughout the year, HMCIP publish their reports up to 6 months after the inspection. Population and performance figures are the latest published but can be considerably out of date.
Please Note: Information is constantly changing: The information on our website is regularly checked but if you have additional information, or if you believe that any of our information is incorrect or any links appear to fail please click on ‘Contact’, below.
Before acting upon any information you are advised to contact the prison directly to ensure there have been no recent changes.
Last Update: March 2014


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December 2014 Headlines
> Treat Prisoners as Human Beings, Not Criminals
> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the governmentís Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didnít do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - donít let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
> Christmas Messages

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