Date of visit: 23 April 2019
Visit number: 99
Prison type: Long Term Category B
The managers said relations between staff & prisoners, based on first-name terms, were ‘excellent’, and praised the jail’s ‘can do’ attitude. The NHS joint-funded ‘SOS team’ of Officers & psychologists, providing an outreach & drop-in service for ‘difficult’ prisoners, was highlighted, as was the specialist PIPE unit. The ‘community hub’ peer support & advice service, monthly prisoner consultative meetings with the Dep and SMs, and trained VR mediators, were all seen as positives. The daily full staff briefing, attended by the No. 1, monthly full staff meeting, and staff-family open days were highlighted too.
The Officers too felt staff-prisoner relations were good, and liked the use of first-names. They also rated the SOS team (‘a great & unique initiative’) and PIPE unit, as well as family visits, and visits in general. Phones in cells ‘make a big difference’, as did the greenery and grounds, while the gym was ‘excellent’ for both prisoners and staff. They valued the daily full staff briefing, and monthly staff meetings. They noted a zero tolerance towards violence, with all incidents reported to the police and the No. 1 contacting staff victims of assault, and the DST had a significant impact on drugs.
Prisoners agreed with staff about relations between them and the use of first names. They too rated the SOS team, gym (access and facilities), in-cell phones (‘a god send’), and visits (including family days, lifer days etc). Peer support was felt a particular strength: including ‘Insiders’ welcoming new prisoners, and giving initial advice & support on induction; the centrally-located ‘community hub’, offering drop-in advice & guidance; NHS-trained emotional well-being mentors for those with mental health issues; and trained mediators helping prevent & diffuse issues between prisoners. They also highlighted prisoners helping audit the jail against HMIP standards, and valued monthly prison consultative meetings with the SMT.