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 began by highlighting 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.
The prisoners in turn really rated their ‘proper’ cooked breakfasts, and also felt staff-prisoner relationships, communication, and consultation were good. They called the Governor ‘excellent’. They also picked out the wing rep system prisoner consultation scheme, violence reduction forum with prisoner reps, the ‘human kiosk’, and family visits and 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. They said staff-prisoner relationships were impressive.
The No. 1 began with high praise for the staff, and for their relationships with prisoners, adding there was a ‘very limited’ use of force. He also felt the ‘Breakfast Club’ and ‘human kiosk’ were particular positives, as was the ‘clean and decent’ environment.