Date of visit: 8 August 2018
Visit number: 38
Prison type: Category C
The prisoners called the jail ‘calm’, and ‘very safe’ compared to others, with security ‘on it’, staff ‘who don’t mess about’, and a structured regime ‘helping time fly’. Staff-prisoner relations were ‘good’, as were vocational courses with ‘excellent’ local employer links. They liked the Prisoner Council, and said family visits were ‘fantastic’ (‘great atmosphere’, ‘lots of activities for kids’) helped by an ‘excellent’ Chaplaincy and Barnardo’s. The farms and gardens were ‘excellent’.
The Officers called this ‘great jail’, safer than others, with ‘excellent’ security, and staff
‘definitely in charge’. They praised ‘excellent’ staff relations, with new staff made ‘very welcome’, and good retention, but with colleagues prepared to challenge underperformance where required. Prisoner relations were ‘excellent’, and staff ‘cared passionately’ about helping them change. Spice and phones were thought ‘low’ due to Rapiscan mail-checks and new phone scanners. They said VR reps played ‘a big role’ in safety. They also praised veteran, lifer and traveller support, high quality prisoner activities, the Enhanced, drug, and Cat D resettlement units, and the ‘excellent’ family visits.
The managers called staff ‘a big family’, who socialise in the gym, staff mess, and outside. They felt being ‘all FMI trained’ helped create ‘excellent jailcraft’ in a ‘safe’, ‘staff run’ prison (‘prisoners respect that’), with ‘very good’ prisoner relations. They said local police and NCA links made phones and drugs ‘hard to get’ (prisoners and staff agreed). Positives for staff included being able to alter their detail (with permission), regular well-being days, a ‘widely valued’ staff recognition scheme, and good development and training opportunities – as well as a visible and supportive Governor. They too also highlighted the range of specialist units, as well as workshops and education, as positives with regard to prisoners.