Gang rivalry leading to fights in Young Offenders' Institution Glen Parva
A YOUNG offenders' institution has been criticised for taking in criminals from rival gangs in Nottingham and Leicester.
A report says that Glen Parva's policy of taking in offenders from both cities is a recipe for trouble and has led to an increase in violence and gang warfare.
In the research Dr Richard Simper, an associate professor in financial economics at the University of Nottingham, says that young rivals at the Leicestershire institution should be separated to reduce inter-gang violence and called for a new facility to be built in the region.
Dr Simper, an adviser to the Home Office and a consultant to a number of police forces, said the research backs the findings of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), which studied Glen Parva between 2008 and November 2009 and said the level of violence was too high.
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He said: "Our results agree with the inspection report's main findings that overcrowding was an issue and that inmate assaults were too high, due to mixing young offenders from different areas, mainly Leicester versus Nottingham.
"If you look at the map of prisons, there are no other local YOIs for males in the East Midlands. I believe, given the size of Glen Parva, it could be an ideal time to build a new YOI in the East Midlands to reduce the assaults due to males in-fighting."
In September, monitoring officials warned gang rivalries had spread from the streets to Nottingham Prison. The jail's Independent Monitoring Board warned "geographical" disputes had caused fights, but said staff had managed to control it.
Dr Simper's research was carried out in conjunction with colleagues from Loughborough University, Kent University and Hunan University in China.
Professor Maximilian Hall, Professor of Banking and Financial Regulation at Loughborough University, added: "The problem with Glen Parva is the inmate mix. If you throw criminals together from different parts of the locality you enhance gang warfare. That's what we suggest has happened.
"The justification for it was that you make them less unruly the nearer they are to home. You can understand why they don't want to move them too far away from their locality, because they can get visits from friends and family."
The report dismissed plans proposed in 2008/09 to increase the size of Glen Parva, the fourth largest YOI in England and Wales, from 800 inmates to 1,160. It found that the smallest YOIs were the most efficient in the management and rehabilitation of young offenders.
A prison service spokesperson said: "The Government is clear that there will always be enough prison places for those being remanded and sentenced to custody and there are currently over a 150 prison spaces available at YOI Glen Parva.
"Violence in prisons is not tolerated in any form and we take the responsibility of keeping staff, prisoners and visitors safe extremely seriously. As with all prisons, YOI Glen Parva has a robust violence management system in place to deal with incidents quickly and effectively with serious incidents referred to the police immediately.”