Public protection arrangements at Littlehey prison were not “sufficiently robust” and rehabilitation and release planning for sex offenders at the jail were not good enough, a new report has stated.

The report, following a snap inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, reached the same assessment on rehabilitation planning as it had in 2015 when the prison was last inspected and the inspectors raised concerns at the lack of change.

But inspectors found the prison, which holds more than 1,200 men convicted of sex offences, was "safe and respectful" and that there were some "excellent outcomes" for prisoners.

Peter Clarke, HM chief inspector of prisons, said Littlehey "continued to be an overwhelmingly safe prison".

"New prisoners were received well into the prison and helped to settle. The prison was calm and prisoners reported to us that they felt safe. Very little violence was recorded and a culture that incentivised good behaviour helped greatly," he said.

Mr Clarke continued: "The area where outcomes were weakest was in rehabilitation and release planning. The promotion of family ties needed improvement.

Mr Clarke added that public protection arrangements were not sufficiently robust, saying: "The prison had only recently introduced resettlement initiatives capable of supporting sufficiently the approximately 30 men discharged each month."

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However, Mr Clarke said: "Despite some criticisms, this report reflects some very good findings and some excellent outcomes for prisoners at Littlehey.

"The prison had a clearly defined function and held a substantial number of elevated risk men in safe and respectful conditions. Prisoners benefited from a very good daily regime and we saw examples of good practice. Going forward, the prison's main priorities are to assess and reduce the risks of the prisoners it holds, and to prepare those being released for successful resettlement into the community."

Littlehey is one of only a handful of prisons across the country specialising in sex offenders. At the time of the inspection nearly half the inmates were serving lengthy sentences of between four and 10 years, with more than a third facing more than 10 years. Around 150 prisoners were serving indeterminate sentences, including life, and nearly half were aged over 50. Three-quarters were assessed as presenting a high or very high risk of harm.

HM Prison and Probation Service Director General of Prisons, Phil Copple, said: "I am proud of the improvements made at HMP Littlehey which are a credit to the hard work of prison officers and the leadership. Low levels of violence, drug use and self-harm are evidence of the culture of good behaviour which is thriving in the prison and I know that, as with the last inspection, the staff at Littlehey will now work to address the remaining issues inspectors found."

He added: "For example, the prison has already set up a new process to make sure that all prisoners have an updated OASys assessment and is refurbishing its heating system."