As it’s another double-header today, after visiting Send this morning, it was off down the road to Coldingley, right next door to the national shooting range at Bisley. I was last here I think around 20 years ago, for a lifer review – now 50 years old, the prison has changed rather less than I have in that time.
The Officers noted a safe jail with good staff-prisoner relations, and felt keywork had had a significant impact on this and behaviour generally. They highlighted a full working day; work, education & training opportunities; offending behaviour programmes (OBPs); reliable regime; time out of cell; good food; the gym (7-day access, including weekday evenings, and part-time qualifications); and visits, including Pact-run family, listener, lifer and adult-only days. Staff valued joint activities with prisoners, including sports, charity events and well-being days (run by the gym), as well as ‘community meals’, with staff as prisoners’ guests. They also rated the No. 1, and relations between staff across disciplines, with plenty of socialising out of work.
Prisoners agreed about safety, relations with staff and the impact of keywork, and praised caring staff and progressive management, including the No. 1. They too valued education & training (including the PICTA course), gym, visits, the food, and joint activities with staff (including ‘community meals’). Out-of-work activities (including chess club, bee keeping, talks & debates), and the Chaplaincy, were also highlighted, along with the prison council, meeting monthly with the Dep & SMT, and a wide range of reps & mentors. Support for lifers, including peer mentors, lifer days & information days, and regular lifer-SMT forum was another positive.
Managers too rated safety, staff-prisoner relations and the impact of keywork, as well as work, education & training; OBPs; visits; the gym; joint prisoner-staff activities; prison council; range of reps & mentors; and support for lifers. They highlighted regular case reviews, consistent case managers and involvement of families, with complex & challenging prisoners, and those at risk of self-harm, and an RJ mediation programme run by prisoners & staff. They said photocopying all mail and drug recovery support (including AA, NA & ‘stepping stones’) had led to low drug use, and noted good ROTL opportunities for a Cat C jail.