Date of visit: 23 April 2019
Visit number: 98
Prison type: Category B Local
The Officers said relations between staff and prisoners were good, and reported strong bonds among staff (on which Refers to Officers seconded to other prisons to cover a shortfall in staff there staff often remarked). They said 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 having a positive impact, and valued the dedicated Keywork room, with computer facilities. Phones in cells were highlighted too, while the gardens, greenery and quiet, were a positive for both staff and prisoners.
The prisoners agreed staff-prisoner relations were good, with ‘lots of banter’ between them. They too valued Keywork for improving relationships as well as helping address their needs, while trained Violence Reduction mediators had helped improve safety. Reception and induction, with strong peer involvement, were highlighted, in particular for the support and advice given to first-timers. They valued a wide range of peer mentors generally, including 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, Peer support workers assisting new arrivals on reception and induction, Charity which trains and supports prisoners to train other prisoners how to read www.shannontrust.org.uk and diversity reps. The gym was rated by one as ‘the best I’ve seen’, and the support given to over 50’s there was also highlighted. Family visits and ‘coffee mornings’ were positives too, along with the gardens, greenery and quiet.
Managers agreed that staff-prisoner relationships in the prison were good. They also noted the positive impact of Keywork on relationships and prisoners’ behaviour, and highlighted the dedicated Keywork room mentioned by staff. They said the staff here were ‘exceptional’, ‘they really care’ and ‘want to make a difference’, and noted their pride in the jail, The skills required by a Prison Officer to perform their role, in particular regarding the management and care of prisoners, and support for one another; relationships across disciplines and grades were good too. The grounds, quiet and cleanliness were highlighted, and seen as a positive for all. They also rated the level of prisoner engagement and consultation (including a range of peer mentors and a Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail), ‘especially for a core local’; while working with challenging prisoners, based on individualised, multi-disciplinary management and care, was seen as a particular strength.