Date of visit: 12 February 2019
Visit number: 79
Prison type: Female
Managers described staff-prisoner relationships as ‘truly outstanding’. They rated the local, strengths-based, approach to recruitment, and said retention was high. They highlighted a strong focus on staff – well-being days, staff recognition, weekly newsletter (including ‘thank you’s and human interest stories), monthly ‘breakfasts with the Director’, personalised Christmas/birthday cards, and regular staff forums – and noted the The term by which Governors are known in private sector prisons toured the prison every day. Phones and Touch-screen terminals, normally on the wings, which allow prisoners to deal with many ‘domestic’ issues, such as submitting “apps” and ordering “canteen” were positives, likewise learning and skills training, with a focus on market-entry qualifications (including hair & beauty, and business enterprise), visits facilities, and support for families. The range of peer workers and their integration in to the regime were also positives, as was the Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail, which met regularly with the Director and was elected by both prisoners and staff.
The prisoners praised the staff, and relations with them, and valued being referred to as ‘residents’. Phones in cells, and Kiosks on the wings, were highly valued. The Prison Council was also valued and seen as active and effective, as was the wide range of peer mentors and supporters. The facilities on visits, and the staff (‘warm and welcoming’), were especially highly praised; and education and training opportunities were also seen as a positive.
The Officers felt the prison was safe, with ‘excellent’ staff-prisoner relations, and noted strong, supportive relationships among staff across the jail. They highlighted phones and Kiosks as significant positives for both prisoners and staff, and rated the induction process, employment opportunities, and ‘through the gate’ support for the women. The wide range of peer mentors and support workers were also rated, as was the Prison Council. The Director was seen as visible, supportive and approachable; and staff communications & consultation, Christmas & birthday cards, and staff recognition were also much valued.