Date of visit: 1 June 2018
Visit number: 16
Prison type: Category B Local
Supervisory Officers – 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 & 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” said the resilience of the staff team ‘shone through’, and praised the staff group for being cohesive and mutually supportive. They also praised staffs’ skills at de-escalating challenging situations. Staff-prisoner relationships were described as ‘good’. They also described a good working relationship with the local Community Rehabilitation Company – providing probation services for low and medium risk offenders, who were praised for ensuring sentence plans were on time. The Short for Deputy Governor also commended staff-prisoner relationships, and noted the good facilities including the gym, football pitch, and workshops. There were positive words, too, for the fact that staff ‘wanted to learn’, and for Chelmsford’s ‘welcoming’ reception, and the ‘good first impression’ it gave.
The Officers and Operational Support Grade – uniformed staff member performing duties in support of the work of Prison Officers (such as staffing the gate, checking CCTV and monitoring mail) also noted the cohesiveness of staff. They praised SOs & CMs as ‘approachable’ and ‘supportive’, and for their role in ‘bringing the team together’. They felt that the commitment and flexibility of managers and staff had helped maintain a regime in challenging times. They said staff-prisoner relations were ‘good’ and said staff were ‘very approachable’. They praised the 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 scheme which was being introduced and felt it had helped improve relationships and safety.
The prisoners described a strong sense of safety in the jail, and said that violence levels were ‘quite low’ when compared to other jails. They highlighted staff-prisoner relationships as ‘good’, and said staff were ‘helpful’. They valued the range of mentors and peer support workers, including Prisoners trained by Samaritans to provide a listening ear and support to prisoners in crisis, and the wing rep scheme which they felt was well supported by staff and management. They had high praise for the ‘great’ gym and sporting facilities, including the football field. They were also positive about in-cell phones, as well as the personal development courses, and the courses tailored to short-term prisoners’ needs – and they too felt Keywork was having a significant positive impact.