Date of visit: 18 September 2018
Visit number: 48
Prison type: Category C
The managers praised ‘can do’ staff and staff-prisoner relations, based on first-name terms, that the An informal term referring to a prison’s Governor (or Director in private jails) called ‘better than any other jail I’ve worked in’; and noted a ‘No decision about me without me’ consultative approach to prisoners. A national scheme under which Prison Officers are given training and time to work one-to-one with around six prisoners, aimed at supporting their management and rehabilitation was ‘the biggest positive in many years’. Healthcare, catering and gym ‘worked closely’ to support healthy living – and the catering was ‘excellent’. Family support was ‘strong’ (including parental contact visits, parenting courses etc). Drug recovery services were praised, as was education & training with its strong employer links (e.g. Recycling company providing employment and training for prisoners in custody and after release – they also help find housing for the homeless www.recyclinglives.com which offers a job and accommodation on release). Allowing families of Prison Officer Entry Level Training – generally used to describe Officers under training and recent graduates to visit helped reassure them about their loved ones’ safety, while the staff mess was ‘well-used’ and ‘valued’, and the gardens and green areas made ‘a big difference’ for all. Charity events involving both prisoners and staff were positives too.
The prisoners felt ‘very safe’, and agreed there was an ‘excellent’ rapport with staff (‘who really want to help’), liked the use of first names, and said the No. 1 was ‘very good’, highly visible, and approachable. They were consulted ‘on everything’ and the ‘very good’ Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail had quarterly meetings with the Deputy Governor and regular department meetings. Family support was ‘the best’ (including family and parental contact visits, ‘sitting next to’ partners, Charity supporting prisoners to record a bedtime story to send out to their children www.storybookdads.org.uk with video, and parenting courses). They liked the charity ‘fun’ days and events, called the healthy food ‘phenomenal’, and praised the healthy living focus (including the prison 5 km run registered and overseen by Park Run UK– now run in a number of prisons around the country www.parkrun.org.uk) and ‘excellent’ gym staff and drug rehab support.
The Officers said the prison was ‘safe’, with ‘very supportive’ managers (including a visible and approachable No. 1), and supportive staff (‘lots of social events’) with ‘very good’ de-escalation skills, who had made POELTS very welcome. Staff-prisoner relations were ‘excellent’ and ‘informal but respectful’.