HMIP Reports, HMP & YOI Parc

The adult prison was given an inspection in the June/July 2022, and the juvenile establishment was inspected in April 2021. The full reports can be read at the Ministry of Justice web site, just follow the links below. In their latest report the inspectors said:

Main (adult) Prison

HMP Parc, a category C jail in South Wales, is one of the largest prisons in the estate, holding 1623 prisoners at the time of our inspection. It has for a long time had a good reputation as a safe and decent prison, and I am pleased to report that it continues to operate successfully.

The experienced and impressive director, backed by a strong leadership team, had been determined to return the prison to its pre-pandemic operations. This was helped by having an education provider that formed part of the same organisation; as a result, the service was retained on site during the lockdown and was able to get prisoners back into the classrooms and workshops quickly. The week of our inspection there had been some reductions in the regime due to staff and prisoner illness, but prior to that the prison was running a much better regime than I had recently seen in other jails.

The prison had developed specialist units in many areas which showed how well the leadership team supported innovation and creativity. An outstanding manager ran a calm and purposeful young adults and veterans unit, in which older prisoners were commissioned to mentor their younger peers. Other prisons would do well to learn from this provision for a group that is often seen as the most troubled – and troublesome – in the estate. The Cynnwys unit supported prisoners with neurodiverse needs such as autism and learning difficulties, and here a capable staff team helped those who had struggled elsewhere in custody. The families unit found imaginative ways to help prisoners stay in touch with and build relationships with their children, such as providing the opportunity to meet their teachers. The Safer Custody Unit provided specialist intervention and additional monitoring for prisoners who were mentally unwell. This provided a safe place for prisoners to interact who may otherwise have been isolated on general wings or in segregation.

Things weren’t as good on parts of A and B wing, where prisoners felt less well supported, had less to do and were generally more disgruntled than elsewhere in the jail.

The ingress of drugs continued to be a big challenge and although the prison is doing some impressive work to reduce the flow, including disrupting drones and dealing with staff corruption, this continued to be a cause of violence, which remained too high.

The provision of mental health services at Parc was not good enough, particularly as the population of this jail had higher than average numbers of prisoners coming in with mental health difficulties. Levels of self-harm were too high. Leaders were frustrated with contracted providers whose staff have still not returned to the jail after the pandemic. This was particularly concerning in the offender management unit, where there were not nearly enough probation offender managers and leaders at the jail had chosen to deploy staff elsewhere rather than in prison offender manager roles, which remained unfilled. The service was consequently very limited, with key work not functioning as it should and leaving sentence progression poorly managed.

The prison’s self-assessment showed the right priorities, but leaders need to do more to set targets and track progress. There were lots of good initiatives in the jail, but not always systems or metrics to measure and understand success and failure. The data – churned out to fulfil the terms of the contract – could also help leaders to assess progress more effectively.

With the uncertainty about the new contract to manage the jail now settled, I am in no doubt that this prison will continue to thrive as a place where leaders and staff believe in and are committed to a culture of rehabilitation.

Charlie Taylor
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
July 2022


The inspectors also listed areas which in their view needed improvement


What needs to improve at HMP Parc

During this inspection we identified nine key concerns, of which three should be treated as priorities. Priority concerns are those that are most important to improving outcomes for prisoners.

They require immediate attention by leaders and managers. Leaders should make sure that all concerns identified here are addressed and that progress is tracked through a plan which sets out how and when the concerns will be resolved. The plan should be provided to HMI Prisons.

Priority concerns

  1. Levels of recorded self-harm remained too high.
  2. Mental health and learning disability services did not provide accessible, evidence-based care and treatment. There were not enough resources to make sure that all referred prisoners received a timely assessment of their needs and subsequent treatment.
  3. The shortage of staff in offender management and resettlement roles had led to a deterioration in rehabilitation and release planning for prisoners.

Key concerns

  1. Overall rates of violence were too high.
  2. The availability of illicit drugs remained a significant threat.
  3. There were gaps in the strategic oversight of important areas, including safety and rehabilitation. Data were not always used effectively to measure progress and drive improvement.
  4. Opportunities to progress for some prisoners on A and B wings were more limited than for other prisoners at Parc. Black and minority ethnic prisoners were under-represented on the more progressive units.
  5. A significant shortfall in health care staff across many grades created a risk to patient safety.
  6. Governance and oversight of medicines management were poor and ineffective. Systems and procedures did not meet the robust standards required for safe and effective medicines management.
  7. Access to the library was poor.



In the Report on the juvenile wings inspection in October 2023 the inspectors said:

HMYOI Parc is a young offender institution (YOI) for boys aged between 15 and 17, located in the much larger Parc prison near Bridgend in South Wales. Operated by the private contactor G4S, it can hold up to 46 boys on two separate units, although at the time of our inspection just 28 were in residence. Of these, about a third were aged 18, but they remained at the YOI due to national population pressures in the adult estate.

As this report and our recent visits show, the YOI at Parc is the best in England and Wales, and something of a benchmark for the four others currently in operation. When we last inspected in 2022, we found outcomes for young people against all four of our healthy establishment tests to be good, our highest assessment. At this inspection, we found purposeful activity had deteriorated and was now not sufficiently good. However, the quality of outcomes in safety, care and resettlement had been sustained, and remained good, a significant achievement.

After an extended period of stable and successful leadership, the YOI was in a state of transition. A new director had been brought in to lead the prison as a whole, and a new head of the children’s unit had recently been appointed, but we were pleased to see that this change was being managed well. In particular, the supportive culture experienced by staff and children at Parc was being maintained, boys generally had reasonable time out of their cells, and there was an excellent and innovative programme of enrichment activity. However, our colleagues in Estyn judged that a more limited curriculum and weaknesses in the quality of teaching meant that the provision of education had declined to ‘adequate’, which undermined our overall assessment for purposeful activity. These concerns had been identified and partnership arrangements to support improvements in the quality of education provision were being developed.

Parc YOI was a safe institution and boys were treated well, with good care from the moment they arrived. There was a full agenda of initiatives and incentives, as well as an active regime which promoted positive behaviour and helped to reduce violence. Safeguarding and work to prevent self-harm was also effective, although the use of separation had increased and oversight was not good enough. Living conditions on the units were good and there were active plans to update and refurbish the environment. Systems for redress were also good, and the caring and supportive relationships that staff developed with the boys meant that most problems or issues could be informally resolved. In our survey, most boys said they were helped to maintain family ties, and work to encourage them through their sentence and towards rehabilitation was equally effective.

Good leadership, a dedicated cohort of caring staff who were prepared to work with children as individuals, and an active regime which sought to engage and incentivise boys, defined Parc’s success. Our report highlights several priorities which we hope will assist with continuous improvement, but leaders and staff  should be congratulated for what they have achieved.

Charlie Taylor
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
November 2023


The inspectors provided a brief list of their major findings


What needs to improve at HMYOI Parc

During this inspection we identified 11 key concerns, of which six should be treated as priorities. Priority concerns are those that are most important to improving outcomes for children. They require immediate attention by leaders and managers.

Leaders should make sure that all concerns identified here are addressed and that progress is tracked through a plan which sets out how and when the concerns will be resolved. The plan should be provided to HMI Prisons.

Priority concerns

  1. Some children were separated for too long and their routines weresubject to excessive restrictions. The number of children segregatedunder YOI rule 49 (see Glossary) had increased and their oversight haddeteriorated.
  2. The promotion of equality had not been prioritised and wasundermined by the absence of consistent staffing to coordinate anddrive the work. This hindered leaders’ understanding of the perceptions of children in this area.
  3. There were inconsistencies in the deployment of education staff,and shortcomings in the quality of teaching and assessment. Therewas insufficient oversight of learners’ development; many weredisengaged and made slow progress towards accreditations, andattainment in a few subjects was low.
  4. Partnership arrangements and key stakeholders had been slow tosupport the successful transition of education providers.Partnership arrangements to support improvements in the quality of education provision or to enhance the curriculum were only recently ornot yet in place.
  5. There was no reading strategy. The library did not work with educationto promote literacy and children who did want to read could not search for and get a book of their choice.
  6. Some ROTL risk assessments and MAPPA information sharingreports were poor.

Key concerns

  1. Oversight of health care was inadequate and did not providesufficient scrutiny of the service to make sure it was safe andeffective for all children.
  2. Children did not have all their health needs assessed and did nothave sufficient access to an appropriate range of therapeuticinterventions, including speech and language therapy.
  3. Children’s clinical records were poor and did not provide an accurate or comprehensive account of assessment, care andtreatment.
  4. The education curriculum did not consider labour market orlearners’ needs well enough. It was not sufficiently vocationallyfocused, and the education department had too little involvement in thedevelopment of education pathways for children.
  5. Self-evaluation of learning and skills, including the use of data, wasnot good enough to identify areas for improvement.


Return to Parc

To read the full reports, go to the Ministry of Justice site or follow the links below: