Date of visit: 22 November 2018
Visit number: 65
Prison type: Category C
The prisoners felt ‘very safe’, with good staff-prisoner relations and staff ‘who really want to help’. They noted a wide range of peer mentors and support workers (in noticeable T-shirts), who were ‘well-embedded’ into the regime and supported by management, highlighting in particular 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) workers and Violence Reduction reps (‘Buddies’) who mediate on wings other than their own (to avoid being targeted on their own wings), and praised support for minority groups. Reception and induction were ‘excellent’, again supported by prisoners. They also rated the library, education – with support for special needs, distance learning, and ‘great’ teaching staff highlighted – plus workshops linked to vocational training. Two ‘great’ gyms and staff, and ‘excellent’ healthcare were other positives, as were visits (2+ hours, family days, a Veterans In Custody day) and the ‘great’ staff who managed them (‘you couldn’t ask for more’), as well as green and ‘airy’ grounds – and the food.
The Officers said staff relationships were ‘fabulous’ and mutually supportive (‘better than anywhere else’). Prison Officer Entry Level Training – generally used to describe Officers under training and recent graduates were made very welcome and had two ‘excellent’ full-time mentors. The staff ‘bistro’ was praised (especially morning ‘bacon butties’!), as were the ‘beautiful’ grounds which benefited all. They thought staff-prisoner relations were ‘good’ and also picked out the mentors and reps (detailed above) as ‘a great help’ to staff, and again praised reception and induction, as well as the gym, including for staff. The staff recognition scheme (with prisoners also making nominations) was another positive.
The managers also picked up on staff-prisoner relations and relations between staff at all levels, creating ‘a real community feel’. They too valued the range of mentors and reps, minority group support (especially for older prisoners), education, reception and induction, visits, and the grounds, as well as staff recognition and the ‘bistro’. The new Accreditation by the Royal College of Psychiatry for places with “a positive and effective social environment”, “where healthy relationships are seen as the key to success” wing was another positive.