Date of visit: 30 April 2019
Visit number: 101
Prison type: Category C
The prisoners said the staff were ‘great’, ‘a different breed’, and ‘they really care’; the prison was ‘very safe’, due to staff de-escalation skills, a zero tolerance towards violence, and CCTV; self-harm prevention was a strength, too. They valued a very open regime (‘more One of four levels of security for male prisoners – from Cat A (high security) to Cat D (the lowest level) than Cat C’), the gardens, cleanliness & quiet, as well as ‘the Basics, like curtains in cells’. Fortnightly community meetings with Senior Management Team were highlighted, along with a wide range of reps and mentors, including Peer support workers assisting new arrivals on reception and induction, in a ‘clean, bright & friendly’ reception which sets the tone for new arrivals. The gym and food (‘really good’) were rated too.
The Officers felt they had an excellent rapport with prisoners, and said ‘we care’ and ‘treat them like humans’. They agreed the jail was very safe for both staff and prisoners and noted very low levels of self-harm. They rated the ‘semi-open’ regime in which prisoners were out all day and not locked in their cells at night. The gardens, greenery, cleanliness and quiet were seen as a benefit for all. Support for new Officers from colleagues, a period of shadowing, and full-time mentors were all rated highly, and a morning briefing for all unified staff was valued, too.
Managers felt staff-prisoner relations were ‘excellent’, as was the The skills required by a Prison Officer to perform their role, in particular regarding the management and care of prisoners and commitment of staff, ‘who really care’. They said the jail was very safe, with very low levels of violence and drug use. Cleanliness and tidiness, for which ‘prisoners take ownership’, were highlighted, along with the relatively open regime and decent living conditions, while communal eating was felt to contribute to a sense of community among the men. Food, the Chaplaincy, and the gym – including a range of activities for staff and older prisoners – were all rated. They also highlighted: wing reps and bi-monthly community meetings with Senior Managers; equalities reps covering each protected characteristic, working closely with identified SM leads; and a range of ‘very active’ peer mentors, including Insiders, buddies & Prisoners trained by Samaritans to provide a listening ear and support to prisoners in crisis.