Hewell has a complicated but rich history. In an earlier incarnation it was a Borstal, and more recently it was Hewell Grange – named after the splendid 19th century house, with its parkland and lake thought to be designed by Capability Brown.
The house is listed, and used for some of the jail’s accommodation – possibly some of the most impressive in the entire estate – alongside the modern buildings on the edge of the original grounds.
The Officers and CMs said staff were ‘great’, ‘really support one another’, and had a ‘real commitment’: they were ‘prepared to go the extra mile’ to ‘get the job done’. They also cited ‘the real support’ between operational and non-operational staff. Things had improved ‘markedly’, and additional staff had made ‘a real difference’, with retention up and new staff ‘bedding in’. Keywork was ‘a big positive’ and had ‘improved’ relationships with prisoners as well as staff confidence. CMs were ‘good at saying thank you’ to staff for a job well done. The staff mess was ‘a good thing’ and widely appreciated. They liked the monthly newsletter keeping staff informed, as well as a high quality and detailed printed guide for prisoners on the jail and the development opportunities it affords.
The SMT called the jail ‘very good’ at handing incidents, and also noted the staff’s commitment to get the job done and keep the regime running, even with staff shortages, which ‘allowed a fuller regime than most other Cat Bs’. They valued both the staff mess and the staff counsellor. They noted the wide range of peer mentors and support workers, and pointed to weekly meetings between peer workers and managers. Communications with prisoners were praised, including using Way Out TV to keep them informed, alongside a monthly newsletter to prisoners, and a guide to the prison and its opportunities. They highlighted strong relations with the local Samaritans, and a ‘very strong’ Listener scheme, as well as a very good psychology team who play an important research-and-data-led role in supporting management.
The prisoners called staff ‘great people’ who ‘really care’. Family visits were ‘very good’ and ‘much better’ than similar jails elsewhere (e.g. playing games in the grounds with kids if the weather was good enough), with support for families ‘generally very good’. They liked the range of mentors and support workers, too.