An early start today for a trip to Hull, first to present two Butler Trust Certificates to staff at Hull Probation, and then on to the prison for a ‘good book’ visit.
After a short meeting with the Governor, I had focus groups first with a group of Custodial Managers, then front line staff and finally a group of prisoners.
Everyone praised the level of support for prisoners and their families at Hull, which included two hour visits as standard, monthly whole-day family visits, a breakfast club and homework club, and a full time family liaison worker. And managers and staff both described the prison as safe and praised the quality of staff-prisoner relationships.
The Governor rated staff-prisoner relationships as the best he had seen and drew attention to thank you letters from prisoners displayed in the admin corridor. He described the prison as safe and noted that Hull had not experienced the increase in violence seen in many other establishments. The Governor also highlighted support for prisoners and families, including monthly ‘family days’, links with the local community, and an annual open day for the families of staff.
Custodial Managers rated staff-prisoner relationships and highlighted safety and control as positives. They highlighted the additional training offered to new recruits after completing their initial training, and ongoing training for existing staff. They also rated support for prisoners’ families, including monthly family days, homework club and breakfast club, as well as the crisis unit for prisoners with complex needs and mental health issues, and the palliative care suite for end of life care.
Staff rated many of the same things as the CMs. They highlighted safety and positive relationships with prisoners. They described a strong and supportive team ethic and collective pride among the staff, and praised support from management and the introduction of staff well-being days, as well as staff training. They too also noted support for prisoners and families as a positive.
Prisoners were especially positive about the support offered to prisoners and families, praising the work of a specialist family liaison officer, the regular family days, and the introduction of a breakfast club and homework club. They also rated time out of cell, and singled out the drug recovery wing for praise.