Date of visit: 5 March 2019
Visit number: 88
Prison type: High Security Local
Managers praised the commitment and resilience of the workforce. They said staff-prisoner relationships were ‘excellent’ 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 had helped with this. They felt local recruitment, pre-application visits, and a dedicated Prison Officer Entry Level Training – generally used to describe Officers under training and recent graduates mentor contributed to high retention, and operational-led Refers to the allocation of Officers to particular roles on a given shift ensured a good mix of experience on the wings. Education up to degree level, the range of vocational workshops, and support for families including Partners of Prisoners (Charity supporting prisoners and their families www.partnersofprisoners.co.uk)-run family days, visits centre and regular family forums, were highlighted, along with strong links with local probation, and support for Home Detention Curfew – when prisoners are released in the final weeks of their sentence under curfew and wearing an electronic tag (to allow their location to be monitored) 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. They felt the local police’s ‘prisons team’ provided strong intelligence and support, and the Scanning equipment used to check parcels and mail for contraband, including drugs and new X-ray machine had had a significant impact on drug supply. Support for staff after incidents and at inquests etc were considered ‘excellent’, while providing bins in cells had led to large reductions in litter.
The Officers said relations with prisoners were good and safety had improved noticeably. They highlighted ‘excellent’ relationships among staff, felt staff were flexible and resilient, and reported high morale and good retention. The care team was ‘excellent’, including in supporting staff after incidents, at inquests etc; likewise, the safer custody team, including in helping staff prepare for coroners’ inquests. They valued access to shower packs and clean clothes after The practice of throwing human waste at a member of staff incidents, and praised links with the local police, and the fact that all assaults are followed up with them. The staff mess was a positive too and widely used.
The prisoners valued the introduction of phones in cells, which had helped improve morale and family links, as well as electronic Touch-screen terminals, normally on the wings, which allow prisoners to deal with many ‘domestic’ issues, such as submitting “apps” and ordering “canteen”, which gave them some control over their lives and reduced pressure on relationships with staff. They also rated the Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail, and the fact that meetings were minuted and action plans recorded. Family days and the role of POPS were also positives.