Date of visit: 21 February 2019
Visit number: 83
Prison type: Female
The Officers described the jail as safe and ‘more of a community rather than a prison’, noting good relationships with the women and among staff. They described staff as ‘very caring’, with especially strong de-escalation skills. The family bonding unit, affording full-day visits, facilitated by a family engagement worker, was ‘great’, and the physical environment (large, open grounds, greenery, and animals) was a positive for both staff and prisoners. Open days for staff families, summer BBQ and staff well-being days were widely valued.
Managers described caring staff with good relationships with the women. They rated the management of complex & challenging women, based on a multi-disciplinary approach and involving families; also, support for women with children, birthing companions, family bonding unit, family days including tours of the grounds, and a visitors centre run by ROTL’d prisoners. They highlighted trained health & well-being peer champions, a ‘healing trauma’ course and transgender training for staff run by prisoners, and monthly Prison Council meetings with the No. 1. ‘Distraction packs’ on reception, medication in possession, basic education, and two social workers for the women, were all positives; as were the grounds and animals, well-being days for prisoners & staff, events for staff & families, and a staff counsellor.
The women rated relationships with staff and their caring approach, and the prison’s rehabilitative culture. They valued the ‘semi-open’ regime and said the grounds were ‘amazing’. They highlighted the range of peer mentors, and the vocational qualifications they could achieve, and noted their involvement on induction. They rated the ‘Cameo’ programme for women with personality disorders, and the ‘super’ Enhanced wing. Support for families, including family visits and the family bonding unit were particular positives, as were the gym (accessible daily), in-reach mental health services, and the animal sanctuary.