Date of visit: 12 December 2018
Visit number: 68
Prison type: Category B Local
The Officers said staff relations with each other were ‘excellent’ (‘a real family’), with new staff made very welcome. They rated in-cell phones, which ‘make a real difference’ and helped reduce violence, and said a dedicated, trained safer custody team, and screening on reception, had reduced Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork – multi-disciplinary care planning process for prisoners identified as being at risk of suicide or self-harm, with a similar approach to violence also helping there, too. They valued the ‘visible’ and ‘supportive’ Governor’s ‘open door’ policy, found 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” ‘very supportive’ – and felt having two CMs per wing, and CMs lining the route on movements helped staff feel ‘supported’ and safe. They liked the morning wing staff briefings, the An informal term referring to a prison’s Governors (or Directors in private jails) widely read weekly blog (balancing ‘the good as well as the bad’ and giving praise where due), as well as the well-used staff mess.
The managers praised the staff’s ‘enthusiasm’, ‘commitment’, ‘resilience’ and ‘can do’ attitude (which compared ‘very positively’ with other jails), and good staff-staff relationships. They agreed about phones, the safer custody team, CMs on wings, the Governor’s blog, and staff mess, and valued the ‘real focus’ on managers giving thanks to staff for jobs well done. They rated reception and peer-led induction (with new prisoners all met by peers, all cells cleaned and fully kitted out), ‘Signposters’ (like 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) on each wing, wing councils, bi-monthly Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail meetings, and the substance misuse team.
The prisoners described ‘decent’ prisoner-staff relations, with violence reduced considerably (with a dedicated Challenge, Support and Intervention Plan – multi-disciplinary approach to the management of prisoners displaying challenging behaviours landing and zero tolerance ‘key’), in a clean and ‘safe’ (‘unless you look for trouble’) prison. They said Synthetic psychoactive substance, originally marketed as a synthetic cannabis – often used as a generic term for all synthetic psychoactive substances and Mamba were ‘much less of a problem’ now, with CMs on the wings making a real difference, and also highlighted Signposters, wing councils, and bi-monthly Prisoner Council meetings with senior managers. They rated phones in cells, two ‘very good’ gyms with ‘excellent’ staff, and the range of education opportunities.