Date of visit: 19 June 2018
Visit number: 27
Prison type: Category B Local
Managers felt the prison was ‘safe’ in spite of the presence of over 140 gangs, attributing that to a ‘highly skilled’ workforce and excellent staff-prisoner relations, a Security department that did ‘a great job’, a comprehensive Violence Reduction strategy, ‘highly effective’ VR reps, and the Social enterprise seeking to tackle social marginalisation and support those on the margins, including people in prison www.bouncebackproject.com gangs project. The The term by which Governors are known in private sector prisons also noted ‘very low’ levels of self-harm and prisoners on Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork – multi-disciplinary care planning process for prisoners identified as being at risk of suicide or self-harm, and vulnerable prisoners kept on normal location, again crediting staff for much of this. They also highlighted family support, including family visits, homework club and Charity supporting prisoners to record a bedtime story to send out to their children www.storybookdads.org.uk, and rated education & training, and local employment links (including a jobs fair) as ‘outstanding’. Touch-screen terminals, normally on the wings, which allow prisoners to deal with many ‘domestic’ issues, such as submitting “apps” and ordering “canteen” and in-cell phones were positives too.
Prisoners said staff-prisoner relations were ‘very good’, and ‘better than many jails’, and called staff ‘friendly’ and ‘approachable’. They said prisoner consultation & engagement was notably good too, with a wide range of peer mentors, including Prisoners trained by Samaritans to provide a listening ear and support to prisoners in crisis and VR reps in particular, a ‘very effective’ Committee of prisoner representatives meeting with senior management to discuss issues relevant to the management and care of prisoners in the jail, and weekly wing-meetings with residential governors. They felt Kiosks and in-cell phones, as well as showers in cells, made ‘a real difference’. Family relationship support was ‘very good’, including regular family visits, a homework club, and ‘baby bonding’ and ‘toddler time’ sessions, as well as Storybook Dads. The library was ‘excellent’, and they valued highly the frequent visiting-speakers and other events organised by the librarian. They also rated education and training, and gym facilities and access. The food, and being able to eat in association areas rather than cells, were also appreciated.
Officers felt staff-prisoner relations were ‘excellent’. They valued the involvement of prisoners in the regime and support of a wide range of outside agencies. Kiosks and in-cell phones had a positive impact. They also highlighted Integrated Drug Treatment Service and mental health support, as well as support for maintaining family relationships.