Date of visit: 4 February 2019
Visit number: 77
Prison type: Category C
The Officers described staff-prisoner relations as good. They highlighted a decency drive, inc. regular cell inspections to ensure prisoners had what they were entitled to and were looking after it, and a strong focus on cleanliness (inc. well-used bins in the grounds, and a ‘decency’ working party). They also mentioned 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 and trained prisoner Violence Reduction reps, and noted all prisoners involved in violence are interviewed and individual action plans prepared – all of which had contributed to improvements in behaviour and self-harm. Relations among staff were described as good, and new staff were made to feel very welcome. They felt the ‘Amends People Awards’, for both staff and prisoners, were highly valued throughout the prison.
Managers described an ethos of giving everyone a second chance and ‘we see the man’, and noted a real sense of ‘Team Highpoint’, with staff from all disciplines working well together. They too felt staff-prisoner relationships were good and safety had improved significantly. They attributed this to the same causes as staff, and they also rated the bi-monthly ‘Amends People Awards’. Communications with staff, including a ‘highly visible’ Governor and Short for Deputy Governor, monthly full staff briefings and ‘breakfasts with the Governor’, were also positives.
The prisoners said staff were friendly and helpful, with relations characterised by mutual respect. The jail was safe and self-harm low, and cleanliness, decency and quiet contributed to a good living environment. Progression opportunities were ‘strong’, and frequent job and employment fairs involving outside employers, as well as Keywork, were ‘very good’. They noted a wide range of peer support mentors, with conflict mediation/resolution VR reps singled out in particular. Family support was ‘very good’, including regular all-day family and lifer visits, and free coach service for visitors (funded from Process through which prisoners can purchase items such as toiletries, snacks and clothing from approved lists agreed by the prison profits).