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. It’s probably best known, though, for its busking prisoners!
The officers described a ‘safe’ prison and ‘reliable regime’ with good staff-prisoner relations and a committed, flexible ‘can do’ workforce who share ‘good camaraderie’ and who 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’ (including ‘excellent’ support for any staff assaulted e.g. No. 1, Care Team, Chaplaincy and colleagues are ‘quick’ to contact and offer support). They rated a monthly training day, full staff briefing, the staff mess, time out of cell, and the workshops & vocational training.
The prisoners agreed on the regime, time out of cell, workshops & vocational training, and that Governor-grades were visible and approachable. They praised ‘a lot’ of ‘very good’ officers ‘who really care’. They liked busking prisoners who ‘brighten the day’, and regular fundraising events with prisoners and staff. The gym was ‘great’ (‘very good’ facilities including ‘5 sessions a week’) 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’ including a peer-led Thursday book club for new readers and the Toe-by-Toe programme.
Managers (including Governor)
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!)