Date of visit: 7 June 2018
Visit number: 17
Prison type: Category C
The prisoners pointed to good prisoner consultation and communications, including the Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail, as well as various prisoner committees. They also highlighted the wide range of mentors, and added fulsome praise for the drugs mentors and Prisoners trained by Samaritans to provide a listening ear and support to prisoners in crisis scheme. They said there was an ‘excellent’ range of work and training opportunities, and made special mention of the Railtrack course. They also valued the quality of sports and gym activities, as well as the presence of outside teams coming in to play, and appreciated ‘celebration of success’ events to which family members are invited.
The staff talked about the strong camaraderie among the staff group, and said they liked the full staff briefing every morning. They also spoke warmly of the Staff’s Summer Barbecue and Christmas Party. They felt there was ‘a good rapport’ with prisoners. They, too, noted the ‘excellent’ range of work and training opportunities, and again mentioned the Railtrack course. They also valued the Prisoner Council, as well as the other prisoner committees.
The managers also praised the staff briefing every morning, and the Staff’s Summer Barbecue and Christmas Party. They were positive about staff recognition and the staff engagement policy, which they said included regular consultation. They also highlighted a monthly ‘Training Afternoon’, as well as monthly meetings with 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), and liked a ‘buddy scheme’ and second week of post-training shadowing, for Prison Officer Entry Level Training – generally used to describe Officers under training and recent graduates. They said there were very low levels of staff sick leave, and felt retention levels were improving. As with the other groups, the Prisoner Council and committees were praised, alongside the extensive range of mentors – with the Listener scheme once more highlighted. They were also positive about both employment and training opportunities, as well as the jail’s links with external employers and agencies. They too liked the ‘celebration of success events’ for prisoners, and the opportunity for families to join in with them.