Date of visit: 4 December 2018
Visit number: 66
Prison type: Female
The Officers said the prison was safe, with dedicated, committed staff, and good, ‘very supportive’ and ‘caring’ staff-prisoner relations. They praised safer custody (self-harm, once a big issue, is ‘much improved’) and A national scheme under which Prison Officers are given training and time to work one-to-one with around six prisoners, aimed at supporting their management and rehabilitation (making ‘a real difference’). They rated specialist support (including 3 counsellors) for victims of abuse and care leavers, the specialist Psychologically Informed Planned Environment – a specialist unit run by psychologically trained staff and supervised by psychologists, to support prisoners’ rehabilitation unit, and the ‘excellent’ Primrose Unit.
The prisoners agreed it was safe, and ‘very strong’ on bullying and work with bullies and victims, and called relations with staff ‘very good’, ‘respectful’ and ‘supportive’. Education was rated ‘excellent’ (with high aspirations for the women and ‘great’ teachers), as was the Chaplaincy for its support to ‘everyone’. They praised the ‘Inspire’ cancer group supported by Macmillan, and ‘excellent’ visits (including evenings and weekends) and the ‘brilliant’ A north east charity supporting prisoners and their families www.nepacs.co.uk (who run the visit centre, organise homework clubs, family days, lifer days, and monthly full-day parent-child visits etc). The Resident Consultative Committee (RCC), a Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail (chaired and minuted by prisoners), was ‘very’ active and effective. They also rated monthly meetings with the Senior Management Team and ‘celebration of achievements’ events as positives.
The managers described ‘outstanding’ staff-prisoner relations, and praised the care and support of women with complex needs. They rated family involvement in Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork – multi-disciplinary care planning process for prisoners identified as being at risk of suicide or self-harm reviews for those at risk of self-harm, the ‘fantastic’ group of Prisoners trained by Samaritans to provide a listening ear and support to prisoners in crisis, and the range and quality of peer mentors and support workers. Like the women, they praised the RCC and visits. They also valued the staff Colleague Consultative Committee, meeting regularly with managers (including An informal term referring to a prison’s Governor (or Director in private jails)), the monthly staff newsletter, which includes staff ‘thank yous’ and achievements, the Team & Employee of the Month, which includes nominations from prisoners, and ‘Thank you’ postcards for staff, used by both prisoners and staff.