To the Isle of Sheppey today for another double-header, starting with Elmley (with next door Swaleside to follow in the afternoon). After a glorious Easter, the weather started to break today, but it was still quite warm and a definite improvement on the impenetrable mist the last time I was down this way.
The Officers said relations between staff & prisoners were good, and reported strong bonds among staff (on which detached duty staff often remarked). They said keywork was having a positive impact, and valued the dedicated keywork room, with computer facilities. Phones in cells were highlighted too, while the gardens, greenery and quiet, were a positive for both staff and prisoners.
The prisoners agreed staff-prisoner relations were good, with ‘lots of banter’ between them. They too valued keywork for improving relationships as well as helping address their needs, while trained VR mediators had helped improve safety. Reception and induction, with strong peer involvement, were highlighted, in particular for the support and advice given to first-timers. They valued a wide range of peer mentors generally, including PID workers, Insiders, Shannon Trust and diversity reps. The gym was rated by one as ‘the best I’ve seen’, and the support given to over 50’s there was also highlighted. Family visits and ‘coffee mornings’ were positives too, along with the gardens, greenery and quiet.
Managers agreed that staff-prisoner relationships in the prison were good. They also noted the positive impact of keywork on relationships and prisoners’ behaviour, and highlighted the dedicated keywork room mentioned by staff. They said the staff here were ‘exceptional’, ‘they really care’ and ‘want to make a difference’, and noted their pride in the jail, jailcraft, and support for one another; relationships across disciplines and grades were good too. The grounds, quiet and cleanliness were highlighted, and seen as a positive for all. They also rated the level of prisoner engagement and consultation (including a range of peer mentors and a prison council), ‘especially for a core local’; while working with challenging prisoners, based on individualised, multi-disciplinary management and care, was seen as a particular strength.