This is the first of two trips to Doncaster in a week. First, I head to HMP Moorland, then HMP Lindholme, before I return to ‘Donnie’ in a couple of days’ time to visit HMP/YOI Doncaster.
Moorland is around 10 miles from Doncaster, and is set in rather lovely rural surrounds, the bucolic setting interrupted only by Lindholme next door.
The prisoners described good relations with staff, in a ‘consistent’ regime, with safety greatly improved, and a notable reduction in NPS since becoming fully staffed. They valued the key worker scheme, the in-cell phones, as well as the family days and extended visits for those on enhanced. They praised the ‘very good’ gym for its facilities, access, and its staff. They also liked the rapid allocation to work and training, and called the PICTA (IT) course ‘brilliant’.
The officers said the prison had good relations among staff (who regularly socialise outside work), new staff were made welcome, and the extra staff brought in had improved safety and regime consistency. They valued the staff’s wellbeing days and annual sports day, the ‘employee of the month’, a ‘very good’ staff café open 7 days a week, and staff rest rooms on wings. They said that photocopying mail had reduced Spice, key work was ‘working well’, and in-cell phones were ‘valued’ (including 24/7 Samaritans access when switched off for general use at night). They thought the separate ‘basic’ wing helped tackle challenging behaviour.
The managers agreed the regime’s consistency had benefited from more staff, that staff-prisoner relations were good, and thought key work had made ‘a big difference’. They also valued the staff café, and praised ‘very good’ staff communications (including daily wing briefings, a weekly governor’s newsletter, monthly governor/staff ‘roundtable’ meetings and CM-led staff forums, as well as quarterly full staff meetings). They noted high retention among new staff, (‘really helped’ by a dedicated, full time mentor). They highlighted the CSIP (Challenge Support Intervention Plan), which Moorland piloted, and is now rolled out. Taken together with regular complex case reviews, and a dedicated basic wing, they thought it helpful in managing more challenging prisoners. They also rated the monthly wing forums for prisoners, which are managed by CMs.