Date of visit: 14 June 2018
Visit number: 24
Prison type: Category C
The prisoners said staff-prisoner relationships were good, and thought that safety and drugs issues were ‘much better’ since staff numbers had increased. They praised the wide range of peer mentors, and the Prisoner Information Desk worker – peer worker giving prisoners information and support, often also supporting the application process (see under “Apps”) Apps - Apps is short for applications – the means by which prisoners can make requests (e.g. to see the doctor) workers, Violence Reduction reps and family pathways reps in particular got an ‘excellent’ rating. They called the Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail ‘helpful’ and liked the weekly ‘surgery’ with residential governors. They also valued regular extended visits, as well as occasional evening visits, which helped maintain family ties.
The staff group said relations among staff were good and noted a diverse workforce reflecting the wider population. The Staff Care team was rated as ‘very good’, as were staff well-being days. They liked the ongoing post-graduation training in the use of authority for newer staff, by more experienced staff, and said it helped with relationships as well as building skills and confidence. They described the jail as ‘safer now’, with less drugs, and praised suicide prevention. They called staff-prisoner relations ‘humane’ and praised the peer mentors, with the PIDs, VR and Induction reps in particular getting a thumbs up. They highlighted how using the prison’s own transportation instead of taxis for escorts had saved both time and money.
Managers felt familiarisation visits for potential applicants, as well as two dedicated mentors, a buddies scheme, ‘practice support’ provided by HR, an extra training week, and ‘use of authority’ sessions for Prison Officer Entry Level Training – generally used to describe Officers under training and recent graduates had contributed to high retention and helped develop new staff’s The skills required by a Prison Officer to perform their role, in particular regarding the management and care of prisoners. They praised family support, including homework clubs, family days and extended visits, a private room for fathers with young children, and Charity supporting prisoners to record a bedtime story to send out to their children www.storybookdads.org.uk. They had positive words, too, for the Prisoner Council and the Charity focused on training and employment of ex-offenders. www.bouncebackproject.com charity who helped prisoners get their Construction Skills Certification Scheme – for construction industry workers www.cscs.uk.com card and supported them in finding work on release.