Date of visit: 26 September 2018
Visit number: 51
Prison type: Category B Local
The Officers described a good rapport with prisoners (‘they don’t want to move’), a culture of ‘thank you’s (read aloud at monthly full staff meetings), and Serco’s ‘strong’ staff recognition (locally and nationally). They praised staff communication and consultation by the The term by which Governors are known in private sector prisons – including monthly meetings of staff reps from every area. They liked the annual staff family ‘fun day’ and ‘good training opportunities for a local’. 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 had just started and was ‘excellent’. They said there was ‘good time out of cell’ for a local, and rated regular job fairs bringing in employers from outside. The ‘Families First’ programme supporting prisoners and their families was ‘excellent.’ Visits (7 days a week, weekly family visits, hot food etc) were highlighted, as was gym access and links to Doncaster Rovers (who came in monthly), as well as prisoners training as personal trainers. In-cell 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 valued, as was the Prisoner Advice Line – telephone advice line, staffed by prisoners for prisoners (Prisoner Advice Line).
The managers agreed about the ‘strong sense of community’, and said staff were ‘very’ supportive of each other. They, too, valued staff recognition and ‘thank you’s, staff communications & consultation, and staff training & development. They highlighted the family ‘fun day’, the staff mess, and the staff Christmas Dinner (and vouchers). Green areas and flowers etc were ‘good for everyone’s mental health’. They also rated staff-prisoner relations, in-cell phones & Kiosks and the PAL advice line.
The prisoners also valued Kiosks and in-cell phones and the PAL advice line, and called work around families, and the visits, ‘outstanding’ and ‘better than anywhere else’. The gym and its staff were ‘brilliant’ (including good access and facilities and the Doncaster Rovers’ Football Academy). They rated the range of peer support workers – and picked out violence reduction reps, who they said ‘help calm down’ situations and reduced bullying, for extra praise.