STAFF at New Hall Prison near Flockton have been praised in a report.
The women's jail won accolades for its staffing, education, detoxification scheme and facilities in an annual report by the Independent Monitoring Board.
It has also been moved up to level four in a performance ratings table - one below the highest achievable level.
The IMB is a body appointed by the Home Office to monitor the welfare of prisoners and staff.
IMB staff visited New Hall twice a week between March, 2003, and February this year to speak to prisoners and staff.
They saw New Hall undergo a series of improvements, including the extension of its education block to accommodate 100 prisoners.
The gym has also been extended and the prison refurbished.
A semi-open residential wing has also been opened.
Another area which won praise was the detoxification programme. A scheme has been in place at New Hall for many years, but has only become compulsory for prisoners in the past few years.
If a prisoner enters the jail with a drug problem, they are put on the detox scheme for seven days.
They can sign themselves off if they want to - but most do not.
Tony Turner, chairman of the IMB at New Hall, said: "Drugs are a tremendous problem. But New Hall is doing well because staff appreciate the problems the women have."
The highest praise in the report was reserved for staff.
Mr Turner said they have had to contest with colleagues missing through training, holidays and sickness.
Staff have also had to work extra-hard to give special care to New Hall's high number of inmates with mental health problems.
The IMB report, which is sent to the Home Secretary, expressed concerns that prison was not the right place for vulnerable people.
Mr Turner said: "These women are only here because there is nowhere else for them to go. It is a dumping ground. They should be looked after by the correct medical staff. A prison officer cannot offer this care.
"It shows how good the staff are that they are managing to deal with these difficult inmates."
There were calls for a review of the housing of vulnerable people in prisons recently after the death of a prisoner in New Hall made headlines.
South Wales woman Mary Lucy Walsh, 29, was found hanged in her cell after being put on remand for theft by Derby magistrates.