Farms’ mental ward to close

THE mental health ward at Lancaster Farms Young Offender Institution (YOI) is set to close.

It is feared the cost-cutting move could leave young people at the institution without vital support and result in the loss of 20 jobs.

Details of the potential cuts were revealed in an inspection report by the YOI’s independent monitoring board. The report said cuts of 58 per cent to the healthcare budget were to be made.

Dave Bowman, Lancaster Farms branch chairman for the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), said it was disappointing to see frontline services cut.

“The health care department at Lancaster Farms was deemed fundamental to the business since the opening of the establishment,” he said. “The department undertakes treatment and care of the most vulnerable and damaged young people in the country.

“Without this service, vulnerable young men will be integrated into the main stream prison with mental health issues and personality traits left untreated and unattended.

“The Prison Officers’ Association condemns this practice, putting further strain on the dedicated prison staff, many members of the POA who face daily threats of assaults and violence.”

See the Lancaster Guardian (07-07-11) for full story.