From March 21-25 2011, an unannounced short follow up inspection was carried out on Hydebank Wood Women's Prison and Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre. These inspections were carried out by the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority and The Education and Training Inspectorate and were short follow ups to full inspections back in 2007.
The Reports highlighted that while limited progress was made in addressing the recommendations made in previous reports in the Youth Offenders Centre, progress was evident in some areas of the Women's Prison, Ash House. As such the reports are keen to point out that there is still much more to be achieved, particularly in healthcare to ensure that young offenders and women prisoners receive healthcare that is in line with the general public.
One of the main recommendations of the 2007 Report, which has still not been achieved, is the recommendation to build a seperate prison for women in Northern Ireland. Ash House is a separate self contained unit on the grounds of Hydebank. The inspectors of the reports have also declared Hydebank as an inappropriate place to deal with some of the most troubled children and young people, as it does not have the resources to deal with such issues.
As such the gender specific needs of either young people or women in Hydebank are not being addressed nor will they be if the current operating system continues. While the recommendations are very welcome, the inspectors urge that nothing will come close to an entire overhaul of both centres.
Read the full Report of Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre here.
Read the full Report of Hydebank Wood Women's Prison here.
Read the news bulletin on the publication of the Reports here.