Date of visit: 20 June 2018
Visit number: 28
Prison type: Category B Local
The prisoners had good things to say about the wide range of prisoner peer support workers in the jail, adding a special mention for both the Apps orderlies and PIDS mentors, who they said were not only ‘really good’ but also ‘helped a lot’, as well as the VR reps, who had contributed to improvements in safety, and the peer-led Toe-by-Toe reading programme overseen by the Shannon Trust. They valued prisoner representation through a network of wing reps and weekly meetings with the Head of Residential, as well as the involvement of other peer reps and mentors in relevant departmental meetings.
Officers said relationships among staff were generally ‘excellent’ and mutually supportive. They added that CMs were ‘very supportive’ of frontline staff, pointing out that ‘they say thank you’, ‘back you up’, and made you ‘feel valued’. They were positive about the two weeks ‘shadowing’ for new staff before and after training, and called experienced staff ‘very supportive’ of newer Officers.
The managers were also impressed with the two weeks of ‘shadowing’, before and after training, for new staff. They emphasised ‘extensive’ mentoring arrangements for new staff, and also added praise for the additional jailcraft training being run by the mentors. They said that ‘in-house recruitment’ was a real positive, and had helped with both the numbers and quality of new staff being recruited, and they reported that experienced staff were particularly supportive of POELTS – all of which, they felt, had contributed to relatively low attrition rates among new staff’. They highlighted the prison’s links with outside agencies, including in dealing with gangs and gang-related violence. They valued the role of PIDS workers, who ‘take a lot of pressure off staff’, highlighted the NVQ and training offered to peer mentors, and felt that the prisoner consultation process was important and valuable too.