Date of visit: 29 January 2019
Visit number: 75
Prison type: Young Adults
Managers felt staff-prisoner relationships were positive and had improved after the introduction of 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. The prison was especially good at managing challenging prisoners, with Violence Reduction peer mentors, individualised action planning and staff de-escalation skills all playing a role – and it was the ‘first in the world’ to be ‘autism accredited’. The Chaplaincy (‘at the heart of everything’) was praised, as were the gym and gym staff, and links with outside sports teams. The Duke of Edinburgh scheme and outward-bound courses – involving both staff & prisoners – were highlighted, as was Scheme bringing together students and prisoners to study together – see also “Inside Out” (with Royal Holloway Uni) and a life skills course run by London Fire Brigade.
The prisoners said the majority of staff were positive and respectful towards prisoners, and did their best to make a difference, and they felt the jail was generally safe (‘if you keep away from trouble’). They rated Keywork positively. Healthcare and the mental health & well-being team were praised. They valued the Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail, which met regularly with senior managers. The library was another positive. They rated the range of practical courses on offer and outward-bound opportunities, including Duke of Edinburgh. They particularly valued the gym and sporting opportunities, including the links with outside teams. Celebration of achievement events for prisoners were also seen as a positive.
The Officers said that relations between them were particularly strong (and commented on by visiting staff), with strong team work across disciplines and regular social events outside work – and new staff were welcomed and supported by colleagues. They felt safe and said relations with prisoners were good. They felt staff really cared about, and listened to, prisoners, and the introduction. Thank you letters to staff from the Governor for a job well done were much appreciated.