From Haverigg, it was back around Morecambe Bay and down to Lancaster Farms, where the prison sits on top of a hill on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, one of The Queen’s favourite retreats. Surrounded by green, there’s plenty of green on view in the prison too. And another cheery welcome on the gate (always a good sign in my experience) was followed by an equally warm welcome from staff, managers and prisoners, all of whom had plenty of positives to report.
The prisoners described a ‘really safe’ and ‘relaxed’ prison with ‘very good’ staff. They gave the gym (‘lots of time’, ‘great staff’) and running club, as well as vocational training, an ‘excellent’ rating. They were positive about healthcare staff & services, and drug services and the recovery wing. The food was ‘good’ with plenty of choice, and they valued the clean, open and green grounds.
The managers described good staff relations across disciplines (including those employed by outside agencies), with new staff made ‘very welcome’, and ‘outstanding’ staff-prisoner relations. They noted ‘a big focus’ on health & well-being for all. They highlighted ‘On the Spot’ vouchers issued by SOs for outstanding staff performance, and said the staff’s approach and skills, plus individualised plans (IPs) for challenging prisoners, helped ‘keep it safe’. They called keywork (fully operational here) ‘a proper game changer’. They also valued activities for prisoners, including Learning Together (as per other prisons nearby), good gym access, a prisoner running club, and prisoners doing charitable sponsored runs etc. They highlighted engagement with prisoners’ families, including bi-monthly forums for family members to raise issues with managers, family involvement in ACCT reviews, and briefings with visitors on issues. They also praised the clean, green, and open environment for making ‘a huge difference’ to prisoners and staff alike.
The Officers agreed about the staff’s strengths (‘very caring towards prisoners’ and ‘passionate’ about the job) and described good relations both among staff and with prisoners. They really valued the health & well-being focus for prisoners and staff alike, the grounds, gym (for staff use, too), wide range of prisoners’ courses, ‘very good’ food, and ‘excellent’ individualised complex case support.