Norwich Prison was built in the late 19th century, and was formerly the Britannia Barracks, home to the Royal Norfolks – a very distinguished regiment whose soldiers were awarded the highest number of Victoria Crosses – five – of any regiment of the Second World War.
Many of the original buildings remain, and it dominates Mousehold Heath with an imposing mix of old and new architecture.
The prisoners called Norwich ‘a good jail’, and thought it ‘safer’ than comparable jails, as well as cleaner than other locals. They said the staff were ‘great’, and recognised that, even while working under tremendous pressure, ‘they really do care’ and had a ‘very positive’ approach compared to other jails they were familiar with. They praised staff as ‘very good’ at de-escalating situations. They also rated the good support for families, including both full day family visits and children’s visits.
Senior Managers reported good retention among new staff, and noted they got four weeks of shadowing, and ‘very good’ support from experienced staff, the Learning & Development Unit, and an ‘excellent’ dedicated staff mentor. They added that inviting family members into the prison for their ‘graduation’ made a real difference in helping put their minds at rest. They highlighted two recent innovations: twice-yearly staff wellbeing days and an improved staff recognition committee. Links with local employers, and a twice-yearly employment fair (with 60 employers at the last one) for those nearing release, were ‘excellent’.
Officers described the camaraderie and support among staff as ‘excellent’, and also liked the prison-wide staff social events held once or twice yearly. They also mentioned the shadowing and the ‘excellent’ support for new staff. They liked the daily morning and afternoon staff wing briefings which ensured ‘everyone knows what’s going on’. They thought staff-prisoner relations were good, and added praise for the specialist 15 bed elderly prisoner unit and its fully accredited palliative care suite, alongside ‘very’ good mental health support services. They had good words, too, about prisoner consultation – based on wing reps and monthly meetings with wing CMs, as well as a prisoner-wide council that meets monthly with the Residential Governor.