HMP Stocken is in Rutland, on the edge of Stocken Park (its Hall is supposedly haunted by no less than three ghosts), which is around halfway between Peterborough and Nottingham.
The modern prison is an interesting phenomenon in the way it has evolved and expanded. It opened in 1985, and has since had new wings added in 1990, 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2008.
The Officers described a ‘safe’ prison and ‘reliable regime’ with good staff-prisoner relations and a committed, ‘can do’ workforce who share ‘good camaraderie’ and welcome new staff. They said the No. 1 inspired ‘continual improvement’ in all staff and led a ‘very’ visible and approachable SMT who were ‘good at thanks’ for jobs well done and ‘have our backs’ – and rated ‘excellent’ support from the No. 1 down for any staff who are assaulted. They valued regular training days and full staff briefings, and the staff mess. Time out of cell, and the workshops & vocational training, were positives for prisoners.
The prisoners agreed on the regime, time out of cell, workshops & vocational training, and that Governor-grades were visible and approachable. They praised ‘very good’ Officers ‘who really care’. They liked busking prisoners on the route to work who ‘brighten the day’, and fundraising events with prisoners and staff. The gym was ‘great’ (access and facilities) and its staff ‘fantastic’. They rated the range of peer mentors & support workers, and regular ‘effective’ wing forum meetings with residential managers. They liked ‘mainly single cells’ throughout, wing cooking facilities, a good canteen list (‘better than most’), hot food and a varied menu for visits, regular family days, and Storybook Dads. The drug recovery wing was ‘excellent’ and the library ‘very good’ inc. a peer-led book club for new readers and Toe-by-Toe programme.
The senior managers described a ‘very tight’ workforce with a teamwork culture and good staff retention, good relations between staff and managers, ‘excellent’ education (rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED). They highlighted the buskers, charity events, and said ‘colour and artworks everywhere’ softened ‘the feel of the place’. They rated an annual prisoner-led decency audit (followed up monthly) and the prison football team in a local Sunday league (home games only!).