The second and final day of my Welsh mini-tour, and it’s off to Wales’ second city, with wonderful weather once again. I could even come to believe the sun really does always shine here – except the last time I visited the prison, it poured down!
The overall impression is of a very clean and bright establishment, and an enthusiastic and positively motivated workforce.
The managers highlighted the daily Breakfast Club briefing for uniformed staff, and praised the leadership and visible management, from the clearly well-regarded Governor down. They noted staff unity and support, and pointed to bonding days and mentoring for new staff, which they thought helped with very low levels of staff sickness and turnover. They liked the Band 4 dedicated to cleanliness, decency and brightening the place up. They said staff-prisoner relations and general communications were good, and valued both peer mentoring and reps. They praised the role of the central PID worker (described as a ‘human kiosk’), paired with an admin officer, in processing all prisoner applications. They added that almost all prisoners were in work or training that offered good future employment opportunities. Staff were praised for their jailcraft, and their approach to, and relationships with, prisoners, leading to ‘very low’ levels of use of force.
The prisoners in turn highly prized their ‘proper’ cooked breakfasts, and also rated relations between prisoners and staff positively. A ‘visible’ Governor who ‘listens’ was ‘excellent’, and communication & consultation with prisoners, with wing reps meeting regularly with managers, were positives too, as was a violence reduction forum which included prisoner reps, the handling of applications, and family visits & support.
The staff also rated the daily Breakfast Club briefings for staff, and the cooked breakfasts for prisoners, and they liked their bonding and ‘away’ days. They called a new 4-day shift pattern ‘outstanding’. Praising senior management’s visibility, they added that the Governor kept them well informed and gave regular, much appreciated, thanks for jobs well done. They said staff-prisoner relationships were ‘impressive’, and safety was generally good. They also appreciated the improved focus on cleanliness and decency.