Author Archives: prisonsorguk

HMP Kirkham – an impressive resettlement prison


HMP Kirkham was a very effective prison which successfully addressed the complex needs of some prisoners, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the Lancashire open prison.

HMP Kirkham holds up to 630 men, nearly a quarter of whom are either life sentence prisoners or subject to indeterminate sentences for public protection. Previous inspections have found Kirkham to be an impressive institution with a balanced approach to risk management and an appropriate focus on resettlement. This inspection found that progress had been sustained.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • Kirkham was a safe prison with a mature population profile, with about 70% of prisoners over the age of 30;
  • risk was managed with proportionality and confidence;
  • there were few incidents of violence or self-harm;
  • the prison delivered some good drug intervention work;
  • the general environment was well maintained;
  • there was some good support for older prisoners and those with disabilities and care needs;
  • prisoners had excellent access to facilities and services, with purposeful activity available to all;
  • provision in work, vocational training and education was well planned and had a focus on employability; and
  • resettlement outcomes in the prison were reasonably good although there remained some gaps in fully addressing offending behaviour.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • use of illicit drugs was higher than usually seen in open prisons;
  • the number of prisoners subject to segregation had increased significantly and the facility was bleak; and
  • although relationships between prisoners and staff were respectful, over a quarter of prisoners said they felt victimised by staff, which needed more investigation by managers.

Nick Hardwick said:

“Kirkham is a very effective and impressive prison. Across the range of our healthy prison tests we found outcomes to be reasonably good or better, and the prison was successfully addressing some complex needs. Although some structures required attention, staff and managers exhibited a confidence, competence and sense of purpose that was equipping prisoners well through their transition from imprisonment to resettlement.”


Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:

“I am pleased the Chief Inspector has recognised HMP Kirkham as a very effective prison addressing the needs of complex prisoners and maintaining its focus on providing resettlement opportunities – this is a credit to the hard work of the Governor and his staff.

“The prison will continue to build on the progress they have made and look to address any areas of concern raised in the report.”

A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at

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Converse latest edition published

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