Date of visit: 15 January 2019
Visit number: 71
Prison type: High Security
Prisoners described staff-prisoner relationships at Full Sutton as good and praised the approach and style of staff. The Physical Education Instructors were singled out for particular praise, as was the gym, and access to it (5 sessions a week over 7 days). They felt the prison was generally safe and had few problems with Synthetic psychoactive substance, originally marketed as a synthetic cannabis – often used as a generic term for all synthetic psychoactive substances. The Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail and other consultation forums were valued, and the wide range of peer mentors was highlighted. The ‘Opt Out’ self-catering scheme (allowing The highest of three levels within the Prison Service’s Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme (see also “IEP”) IEP - Incentives and Earned Privileges – national scheme under which prisoners can earn additional privileges through good behaviour prisoners to cater and budget for themselves) was widely praised, along with a cookery class and wing-based cooking facilities. The extended working day and amount of association were also valued, as were whole-day family and adult-only visits.
Frontline staff cited the ‘Opt Out’ scheme, whole-day family visits, and extended working day as key positives, as well as the gym facilities and access, for both prisoners and staff. They also noted the reliability of the regime and time out of cell. They highlighted the quality of relationships among staff, and the welcome extended to new staff, as well as relations between staff and prisoners, and their colleagues’ The skills required by a Prison Officer to perform their role, in particular regarding the management and care of prisoners. Like the prisoners, they felt the prison was generally safe, and they too reported few problems with New Psychotic Substances like the synthetic cannabis ‘Spice’ (like Spice).
Managers described the prison as safe, attributing that to ‘a bedrock of good jailcraft’ and strong relationships between staff and prisoners, which they felt were better than in many other jails. They also highlighted positive relationships among staff – and likewise, between management and staff – with daily wing briefings for staff, weekly email newsletter to staff (which includes ‘thank you’s, and good news stories, as well as other information) and monthly staff council, all seen as contributory factors. Managers also rated the mentoring and support for new staff, provided in part by a full-time Supervisory Officer – see also “Band 3 / Band 4” Band 3 / Band 4 - Prison Officer grades – Band 3 is the main grade for Officers, Band 4 officers are also known as “supervisory Officers and Operational Support Grade – uniformed staff member performing duties in support of the work of Prison Officers (such as staffing the gate, checking CCTV and monitoring mail), and noted the prison’s high rate of retention for new Officers.