Date of visit: 18 June 2018
Visit number: 25
Prison type: Category B Local
Officers described strong, mutually supportive, relationships among staff, and praised both the ‘humanity’ of staff and their ‘relationship with prisoners’. They appreciated the ‘very good’ breakfast briefing every weekday, and monthly full staff meeting – and mentoring and support for new staff was well regarded. Staff also felt that support for prisoners’ families – including evening and weekend visits, family days, Homework Club, Charity supporting prisoners to record a bedtime story to send out to their children www.storybookdads.org.uk, a fatherhood course, and the role of Charity supporting prisoners and their families www.spurgeons.org children’s charity – was particularly strong.
Prisoners praised staff-prisoner relationships, noting that staff had a ‘good rapport’ and were supportive of prisoners. They also praised support for their families and the role of Spurgeons in this – highlighting (in addition to what staff mentioned) the support provided in dealing with social services. And they picked out support for veterans in custody at Winchester as another positive.
Supervising Officers and Custodial Managers described the staff as ‘excellent’, and praised relations between prisoners and staff. They also added their voice in praise for the work of Spurgeons in helping to support and maintain family relations.
The Governor highlighted the breakfast briefings and monthly full staff meetings, as well as a weekly newsletter to staff, as important aids to effective communication. She also highlighted staff recognition, and staff well-being events and initiatives, which she felt had helped improve morale and reduce staff sickness, and said that the extended, two-week, induction process for Prison Officer Entry Level Training – generally used to describe Officers under training and recent graduates had brought real benefits. As with the others, the Governor highly praised family work, including the role of Spurgeons.