Date of visit: 24 May 2018
Visit number: 13
Prison type: Category B Local
The senior managers said the jail was ‘safe’ with a positive overall culture and ’good’ relations between prisoners and staff. They felt the Senior Management Team worked as a ‘cohesive’ group which delivered both leadership and visible management, from the Governor down. They felt having two dedicated mentors, as well as an additional fortnight of The skills required by a Prison Officer to perform their role, in particular regarding the management and care of prisoners training and ‘shadowing’ back at Leeds, had helped retention and effectiveness of new staff. The ‘Q’ Branch minor repairs work party (made up of prisoners and staff, and named after the James Bond character), had improved living and working conditions, while photocopying all post had helped tackle Synthetic psychoactive substance, originally marketed as a synthetic cannabis – often used as a generic term for all synthetic psychoactive substances and reduce associated violence. Partnership work with the local probation services was seen as another strength. The role of peer mentors and support workers was highlighted, with the Prisoner Information Desk worker – peer worker giving prisoners information and support, often also supporting the application process (see under “Apps”) Apps - Apps is short for applications – the means by which prisoners can make requests (e.g. to see the doctor) (Prisoner Information Desk Services) workers seen as particularly helpful.
The Officers particularly praised the ‘team work’ in the prison and said that staff were supportive of each other. They, too, felt there was good support for new staff, and again mentioned the additional jailcraft training and shadowing as examples of good practice. They also rated the ‘good’ and ‘visible’ management. They said in-cell phones had made ‘a huge difference’ to prisoner behaviour, and had also contributed to far fewer mobiles in the prison, while they too agreed that photocopying the mail had impacted on both drugs and violence.
The prisoners also had positive things to say about staff-prisoner relationships, and welcomed the new cohort of Officers coming in, who they described as ‘very good’. They valued the level of prisoner consultation and communication, including regular minuted meetings of the prisoner representative committee, which was ‘making a real difference’ and also recognised the positive impact of peer mentors and support workers (including PIDS).