Prison inspectors critical of young adult regime

Today, HM Inspectorate of Prisons published its report on a young adult prison, HMYOI Aylesbury. A summary of the findings are below.


  1. YOI Aylesbury holds 440 of the longest sentenced 18-20 year olds the English prison system, including young adults serving life sentences
  2. Nearly two-thirds of the young people reported feeling unsafe, and there were high levels of sometimes very serious violence
  3. The Inspectorate reports “a combination of volatile and frustrated young people locked up for long periods with no activity”
  4. There were “too few staff and many who were inexperienced” and that “good staff were overwhelmed with work and unable to focus”
  5. Staff told HMIP:“Aylesbury will always be a violent place”. HMIP states “fatalism about unacceptable levels of violence needed to change”
  6. During the working day 2 out of 5 young men were locked in their cells and a quarter of prisoners were unemployed
  7. HMIP report that the young adults in this prison get only 30 minutes a day exercise in the open air
  8. A third of young men there are waiting for a transfer to the adult estate where they will continue their long prison sentences elsewhere
  9. Mechanisms of accountability for the very high use of force had effectively broken down, and management oversight was very poor
  10. HMIP found that hundreds of officers’ accounts of use of force, which should have been completed immediately, had not been done at all
  11. Since 2015 there were improvements in measures on ‘respect’. Health care and chaplaincy staff were particularly effective
  12. Inspectors found young men behaved well when they could attend workshops &  education, where they were able to engage in purposeful work
  13. Despite many problems HMIP found areas of considerable potential. Most staff appeared remarkably resilient & want to improve the prison
  14. There was some excellent innovation eg coffee roasting & retail shop, giving prisoners valuable skills in realistic work environments
  15. Aylesbury YOI continued to provide outstanding support to some of the most vulnerable and troubled young men in the prison estate
  16. The full HMIP report on HMYOI Aylesbury can be found at: