The first of three visits over two days in the Wolverhampton area begins with Featherstone. I used to work here, and last saw it back in 1993, so it’s something of a blast from the past!
Wikipedia reminds me that ten or so years ago, prisoners apparently brewed beer based on Marmite (which hardly bears thinking about, whichever side of the Marmite debate you’re on). Unlike the village it’s named after – which is in The Domesday Book – it’s a fairly modern prison.
The prisoners pointed to good prisoner consultation and communications, including the Prisoner Council as well as various prisoner committees. They also highlighted the wide range of mentors, and added fulsome praise for the drugs mentors and Listeners scheme. They said there was an ‘excellent’ range of work and training opportunities, and made special mention of the Railtrack course. They also said how much they valued both the quality of sports and gym activities, as well as the presence of outside teams coming in to play.
The staff talked about the strong camaraderie among the staff group, and said they liked the full staff briefing every morning. They also spoke warmly of the Staff’s Summer Barbecue and Christmas Party. They felt there was ‘a good rapport’ with prisoners. They, too, noted the ‘excellent’ range of work and training opportunities, and again mentioned the Railtrack course. They also valued the Prisoner Council as well as the other prisoner committees.
Managers (including Deputy Governor)
The managers also praised the staff briefing every morning, and the Staff’s Summer Barbecue and Christmas Party. They were positive about staff recognition and the staff engagement policy, which they said included regular consultation. They also highlighted a monthly ‘Training Afternoon’ as well as monthly meetings with OSGs, and liked a ‘buddy scheme’ and second week of post-training shadowing for POELTs. They said there were very low levels of staff sick leave, and felt retention levels were improving. As with the other groups, the Prisoner Council and committees were praised, alongside the extensive range of mentors – with the Listener scheme once more highlighted. They were also positive about both employment & training opportunities, as well as the jail’s links with external employers and agencies. They liked the ‘celebration of success events’ for prisoners, and their families being able to join in with them.