After an unseasonably warm and sunny few days the weather was much cooler today as I headed off for Peterborough and the only prison in the estate to hold both male and female prisoners (though they are kept separate at all times). The prison is on the site of an old engineering works and, as I discovered, is actually rather further to walk from the station than I’d anticipated!
The men praised staff-prisoner relations, and the impact of keywork, phones in cells and kiosks. Time out of cell and association were also rated, as were visits, gym (facilities, access & courses), education, range of offending behaviour programmes, employment links, and pre-release help with CVs and interview training. They also rated wide-ranging peer support and highlighted their involvement in reception and the peer-led induction programme.
The women also praised staff and relations with them, and valued in cell phones and kiosks, as well as visits and education, including access to distance learning courses. They particularly valued the role of peer mentors and support workers, highlighting especially ‘Connections’ mentors (covering reception, induction and resettlement), Listeners and the specialist-trained peer trauma champion.
The Officers too rated staff-prisoner relationships, keywork, phones and kiosks, visits, education and peer mentors, and also highlighted the prison council and recognition of achievement events to which families were invited. They noted the commitment of staff and excellent relations between them. They valued staff recognition and a ‘culture of thanks’, staff consultation meetings, weekly team ‘huddle’ & monthly full staff meeting, and the Governor’s weekly newsletter.
The SMT noted many of the same things as staff and prisoners. They also rated (among others): the prison’s Restorative Service Quality Mark, and trained staff & prisoner ‘Restorative Practice’ team; trauma training for all staff and ‘trauma co-ordinator’ for the women; help for care leavers; support for prisoners on release; the role of the Chaplaincy; an apprenticeship and 12 months of mentoring for new staff; Xmas & birthday vouchers for staff; and staff family tours of the jail.