Friday morning, and I’m back to the same site as yesterday (which houses Featherstone), but this time I’m visiting Brinsford.
The staff there seem to have a real spring in their step, and the prison looks very clean and tidy – and once again it’s another un-English-like lovely day.
The prisoners praised relations with staff, and visible governors who ‘listened’ and ‘explained’. The regime for well-behaved prisoners was ‘excellent’. They said the same about healthcare and the gym, its staff, and visits from outside sports teams. They valued education & vocational training (including training towards the Construction Skills Certification Scheme) and appreciated the ‘clean grounds’ and ‘flowers’.
Officers said the prison was safe and praised the VR and Safety Teams who debrief prisoners after incidents and oversee VR plans. They rated relations among staff and with prisoners highly, and said the No. 1 was ‘excellent’: visible, ‘knows all the staff’, and ‘has time for us’. They valued regular staff training days, the Care Team, and mentoring support for new staff. They also admired education & training and noted the positive impact of the keyworker scheme.
The SMT described management, from the No. 1 down, as ‘very visible’ and praised the prison’s communications, led by a dedicated comms manager, including twice daily team briefings and regular staff consultation forums. They too thought staff-prisoner relations were very good and noted the benefits brought by keyworking. They found the prison ‘safe’ – highlighting the VR and Safety teams and said family involvement with self-harmers & violent prisoners ‘really helped’, as did a wing for troublesome prisoners. They, too, rated education & training, adding praise for the Prisoner (‘Residents’) Council, and for environmental Services who kept the place clean, green and bright.
The Governor noted many of the positives identified by others and highlighted in particular: the quality and skills of staff; the prison’s commitment to decency; the VR and Safety Teams; the Residents’ Council; and environmental services.