A WOMEN'S jail at Eastwood Park has been deemed safe and 'exceptional' in many respects in a glowing report.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick commanded the Mary Carpenter Unit at HMP/YOI Eastwood Park following an unannounced visit for providing a good service to inmates.

The small facility for 17 year olds, which is currently home to six teenagers, was praised for its "exceptional" mental health service. Mr Hardwick found the juvenile unit to be safe with little bullying while the relationship between staff and inmates remained excellent since the inspectorate’s last visit in 2011.

"The Mary Carpenter Unit is a highly specialised facility," he said. "Although it holds only a few young women, the challenge of providing interventions that work, for arguably some of the most damaged and vulnerable young women in the country, should not be underestimated. The evidence we saw suggests that the unit continues to provide a good service with good outcomes."

The inspector also praised the prison's resettlement planning which, he said, was tailored to prisoners’ individual needs.

If some areas were outstanding, the grubby cells and poor kitchen hygiene were a disappointment, however.

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said: "This is a very positive report, which recognises the good work taking place at the Mary Carpenter Unit to provide a safe, positive and supportive environment for the vulnerable young women it holds.

"The governor will work with the Youth Justice Board to deliver further improvements in the quality of the environment and the provision of education and vocational training."