Date of visit: 6 November 2018
Visit number: 58
Prison type: Category C
The CMs and SOs thought the jail ‘safer’ than similar prisons, with ‘very caring’ staff and ‘very good’ relations with prisoners. They noted a strong focus on ‘encouragement and praise, not shouting and criticising’. Joint staff-prisoner events, including a community fair, coffee morning and sport, made ‘a huge difference’. Staff management of complex, challenging and vulnerable prisoners was ‘better than other jails’, and they highlighted families’ involvement in planning and support. Keywork was ‘working really well’ and in-cell phones praised. They liked monthly prisoner-manager wing forums, and thought staff-manager relations good (with a ‘highly visible’, ‘proactive’ and ‘supportive’ Governor). They rated the daily full staff briefing attended by the No. 1 and Deputy, and liked the ‘strong culture’ of giving thanks and due credit to staff for work well done.
The prisoners said it was ‘the best Cat C in the country’ with ‘great’ staff who ‘really care’ and used their first names. They praised the prison’s ‘Growth Project’ which fostered the active engagement of prisoners in whole-prison improvement, including building relationships between staff and prisoners, and even training new staff on effective jailcraft! They agreed on the in-cell phones and top management, and liked monthly wing prisoner-manager meetings, informal visits and regular family days, and a ‘Friends of Guys Marsh’ rail-prison bus for visitors.
The Officers rated the ‘very close knit’ supportive staff (and staff care team who ‘really go out of their way’), ‘plenty of informal socials’ out of work, and the daily full staff briefing attended by the ‘very good’ and ‘highly visible’ Governor, who was ‘approachable’, ‘listens’ and ‘supports staff’. They valued the annual staff well-being days, and annual award and celebration events for staff held outside the jail. They, too, rated the prisoners’ family visits and in-cell phones.