Date of visit: 4 December 2017
Visit number: 2
Prison type: Long Term Category B
The Governor noted that the prison managed a challenging population yet levels of indiscipline and self-harm were ‘low’, and staff-prisoner relationships ‘excellent’. He stressed, among other factors: the collaborative approach taken by prisoners and staff; the level of responsibility given to prisoners and consultation with them; engagement with outside agencies; and a focus on maintaining strong family links. He also highlighted: support and recognition for staff; mutual support among staff and strong dialogue within staff teams; and training and development opportunities for staff. While he acknowledged that Grendon was very different to other jails, he stressed that many of the same principles and approaches could be taken in other establishments.
Staff emphasised communication and relationships between prisoners and staff as key positives, as well as the approach to handling and responding to challenging behaviours, with a focus on de-escalation and avoiding disciplinary sanctions where possible. Involving families and outside agencies as ‘part of the journey’ for prisoners was seen as important. Ongoing opportunities for staff training and development, as well as mutual support among staff, and staff recognition were all valued, as were events to enhance and share good practice.
Prisoners described Grendon in very positive terms. They particularly stressed relationships between prisoners and staff and the support provided to them by staff. They also highlighted the level of responsibility given to prisoners, with most domestic tasks devolved to them, with a range of elected ‘reps’ leading on particular areas. Prisoner representation & consultation was another area rated positively, as was the opportunity to engage with outside organisations, including through prisoner-led events and open days, as well as the opportunities for extended visits with their families.