New recruits wanted to check inmate welfare at HMYOI Werrington

Volunteers are needed to ensure teenagers at Werrington Young Offenders Institute are being treated well.

Last year there were just two members left on the Independent Monitoring Board there.

But they have managed to bring in new recruits over the last 12 months, who have undergone training to go into the prison and speak to boys aged between 15 and 19.

Now, they are hoping to bring in more independent, unpaid volunteers to carry out up to 4 visits each month, and ensure proper standards of care and decency are maintained.

Chair of the IMB at Werrington, Geoff Webb says it can be difficult at time, but it is great to know the difference that it makes.

He said: "It is very challenging, I cannot pretend it is an easy job.

"I have worked in other prisons and this is very different.

"We do resolve some problems, though the prison does very well I have to say.

"It is very rewarding when some boys who have been very difficult for months finally seem to turn a corner. Whether or not that is down to us, we will never know."

The YOI has undergone a period of change, with a new governor joining earlier this year.

More prison staff have also been recruited.

Geoff says that has made a difference.

He said: "One other thing she has instituted is creating two routes through the jail.

"That might sound trivial but only having one route meant that people were often late for health care appointments, or even missed them, because the route was occupied by someone else - and if they got together there would be fighting. 

"Opening two routes has made it possible for people not to miss appointments.

"It seems really obvious, but she has done it.

"The Governor has also introduced a regime where if two boys cannot mediate, they won't be allowed at visits simultaneously.

"Therefore one of them won't get their visit.

"That has provided good motivation to seek mediation, which is excellent."

There is more information on becoming a volunteer here: https://www.imb.org.uk/join-now/current-vacancies/

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