Date of visit: 7 August 2018
Visit number: 37
Prison type: Category B Local
Managers praised the jail’s ‘rehabilitation culture’ and the attitudes of staff & managers. They rated a ‘strong’ Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail and wide range of peer mentors, as well as ‘excellent’ visit facilities, extended family visits, a homework club etc. Reception was ‘the best you’ll find’, offering a warm and comfortable welcome, and together with a week-long induction ‘set the tone’ for the prison. Healthcare was ‘excellent’, and a wide range of services, including the pharmacy’s ‘meds-optimisation’ programme, reduced the need for outside hospital visits. They rated education & training, the older prisoner unit, and facilities including showers, phones and Touch-screen terminal, normally on the wings, which allow prisoners to deal with many ‘domestic’ issues, such as submitting “apps” and ordering “canteen” facilities (via tablets) in cells. The gardens and grounds were a positive for all, and the mess was valued by staff.
The Officers praised the attitude of staff, noted a ‘very strong’ bond (helped by outside socialising) between staff, and said relationships with prisoners (referred to as ‘residents’), based on first-name terms, were ‘excellent’. Custodial Manager – uniformed officers responsible for managing Band 3 and 4 staff (see also “Band 3 / Band 4”) Band 3 / Band 4 – Prison Officer grades – Band 3 is the main grade for Officers, Band 4 officers are also known as “supervisory Officers” and the Senior Management Team were praised as ‘highly supportive’ and ‘visible’. They valued monthly full staff meetings and staff recognition (including a ‘caught doing good’ scheme), as well as the staff mess. They also rated the range of peer mentors and the ‘strong’ and ‘well embedded’ Prisoner Council.
The prisoners called staff-prisoner relations ‘excellent’, valued being called ‘residents’ and the use of first names, and felt ‘very safe’. They highlighted visits, and extended family visits in particular, as ‘fantastic’, noting ‘comfy side-by-side seating’ and the right to ‘wear your own clothes: with no bibs’. They rated the range of peer mentors and the Prisoner Council, while Violence Reduction reps, who had a mediation role here, were ‘key to safety’. They liked in-cell showers, phones and laptop-based Kiosk facilities (‘better than on the wing’, ‘no queues’, ‘do it in your time’), and said the gardens and green spaces made a real difference, too.