Date of visit: 19 June 2018
Visit number: 26
Prison type: Category C
The prisoners praised a ‘highly’ visible management and a reliable regime that felt ‘very safe’. They said the Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail and monthly meetings with senior managers were more effective than similar councils they knew of, and praised the range of reps and mentors. Family visits (every couple of months) were ‘excellent’, and they said wing Touch-screen terminals, normally on the wings, which allow prisoners to deal with many ‘domestic’ issues, such as submitting “apps” and ordering “canteen” reduced potential conflicts with staff, and allowed prisoners some control and self-responsibility. They also liked the amount of time out of cell and the work & training opportunities – especially the gym instructor course and ‘in-house’ record label.
The Officers called Isis a ‘good jail’ that ‘felt safe’. They said management was ‘approachable’ and ‘visible’, and consulted and listened, adding that the ‘very good’ An informal term referring to a prison’s Governor (or Director in private jails) was ’open’, ‘supportive’, ‘and not risk averse’. They liked a monthly newsletter and full staff briefing and the ‘very supportive’ Custodial Manager – uniformed officers responsible for managing Band 3 and 4 staff (see also “Band 3 / Band 4”) Band 3 / Band 4 – Prison Officer grades – Band 3 is the main grade for Officers, Band 4 officers are also known as “supervisory Officers” and Senior Management Team who often said thanks and made staff feel valued. They called staff friendly, ‘very tight’, and said Refers to Officers seconded to other prisons to cover a shortfall in staff there staff agreed. They liked training, including 2 weeks of shadowing, and the ‘excellent’ mentoring for new Officers, and really rated the well-used staff mess.
The managers agreed Isis was ‘safe’ and ‘friendly’, citing ‘very good’ relations across staff groups and a ‘focus on kindness and compassion’, led by a ‘positive’, ‘friendly’, and ‘supportive’ No. 1. They too rated the prisoner mentors, visits & family days, and the ‘really good’ mess. They said management-responsiveness (e.g. directly feeding back to prisoners on complaints) and a smooth induction (with orderlies ‘key’) ‘set the tone’. They praised their risk-based Offender Management Unit – prison-based team responsible for helping to draw up and oversee a prisoner’s sentence plan, and linking with their probation officer outside allocation (with higher risk prisoners being managed by probation) and access to Offending Behaviour Programme – a structured programme aimed at reducing prisoners’ reoffending by addressing particular criminogenic needs, and education & training. They liked that the Governor read ‘thank you letters’ to staff (from prisoners & colleagues) at full staff briefings, and rated regular staff development days, as well as the annual ‘Isis Awards’.