Security at Portsmouth prison is applauded

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SECURITY at Portsmouth's prison for lifers has been praised.

Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, applauded HMP Kingston for its 'sound focus on addressing the risks posed by the very serious offenders it holds'.

And in a warning against pending cuts to the Prison Service, he said the 'very positive report' was testament to the benefits of having a small-scale niche prison.

In his report Mr Hardwick said Kingston - built by French prisoners of war between 1874 and 1876 - continued to provide a safe environment for staff and prisoners, with little bullying or violence and few instances of self-harm.

He said security was well-managed and proportionate, and staff rarely had to resort to use of force or segregation.

Relationships between staff and prisoners were positive, the report added.

And he said all 195 prisoners could access some form of activity, while education was 'satisfactory'.

But Mr Hardwick said some concerns remained.

He said although diversity was generally well-managed, black and minority ethnic prisoners reported more negatively about the prison than white prisoners.

And he said there was a need for more vocational training.

Mr Hardwick said: 'It is commendable that we are once again able to endorse the success of staff in delivering a safe, decent and purposeful prison committed to addressing offending behaviour.

'However, this success is also a reflection of the benefits of having small-scale specialist prisons focused on their core task and it is to be hoped that this small pocket of excellence will not be lost in the Prison Service's search for efficiencies and economies of scale.'