Author Archives: prisonsorguk

HMP Preston: A reasonably good prison – but which could improve still further

PRESTON PRISIONHMP Preston was better than many other local jails and could make further progress, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the local jail in Lancashire.

Parts of HMP Preston date from the 18th century. It holds just over 800 adult male prisoners, drawn mainly from the North West. The prison’s location embedded in the local community and its role serving that community gave clarity to its purpose and function. At its last inspection in 2014, inspectors found that the prison was doing some good work to reform and resettle those it held but that some aspects of safety needed to improve. This more recent inspection found that the prison continued to do reasonably well, and had become safer.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • generally prisoners received a positive induction when they arrived, despite the poor environment of the reception area;
  • violence was not increasing, unlike in many similar prisons, but there was the potential for more effective work in this area;
  • a confident staff group ensured a generally calm prison and vulnerable prisoners were now receiving better support;
  • although case management of those at risk of self-harm was mixed, prisoners in crisis said they felt supported by staff and mental health input was good;
  • the management of security was generally sound, with an improving approach to reducing the supply of illegal drugs;
  • prisoners were very positive about the value of the incentives and privileges scheme to promote good behaviour;
  • arrangements in the segregation unit were adequate and prisoners were not held there for long;
  • although the amount of time prisoners spent out of their cells had deteriorated, 85% of prisoners were still engaged in either work, training or education;
  • Ofsted judged the effectiveness of learning, skills and work to be ‘good’ overall; and
  • offender management work was efficient, public protection arrangements were robust and the community rehabilitation company and resettlement work in general gave prisoners being released significant support.

Inspectors were, however, concerned to find that:

  • there had been four self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection, although levels of self-harm were lower than inspectors usually see at similar prisoners;
  • living conditions were variable and access to basic amenities needed to be better;
  • not enough in the prison was being done to promote equality;
  • although staff were generally experienced and treated prisoners decently, there was some poor practice and culture that needed to be challenged; and
  • health care provision had deteriorated.

 

Peter Clarke said:

“Preston remained a traditional and stable institution despite having many of the disadvantages common to old, inner-city prisons. In many areas it continued to do better than comparable prisons. The prison could, however, do more and there is no room for complacency. With more consistency, greater imagination and better coordination, even better outcomes are within the prison’s grasp. The management team was competent, settled and committed to the success of the prison. The staff group were capable and confident. Preston was a reasonably good prison; it should be ambitious and a very good prison.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said:

“As the Chief Inspector notes, HMP Preston has made progress in a number of areas since the last inspection, with an improved strategy in place to tackle drugs and new technology to intercept mobile phones. I commend the staff for their commitment and achievements in a challenging operational environment.

“However there remains to work to be done, particularly in the areas of mental health and violence reduction. The Governor will now use the recommendations in the report to further develop the prison. Additional staff are also being recruited which will help accelerate progress over the coming months.”

A copy of the full report, published on 27 July 2017, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP Whitemoor: A Generally Safe & Decent High Security Prison But Concerns Over Segregation

HMP Whitemoor was generally safe, with reasonable living conditions and relationships between staff and prisoners had improved, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the high security jail in Cambridgeshire. HMP Whitemoor held 431 men at the time its inspection. All were serving long sentences… Continue Reading

Nigel Newcomen: Six Years As Prisons Ombudsman – The Wrong Man For The Job?

The past year saw an 11% rise in prison suicides, more deaths from natural causes and eligible complaints up 9%, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen. Today he published his sixth and final annual report and warned that these statistics, combined with high levels of violence and incidents of significant disorder, indicate a prison… Continue Reading

Prison Deaths From New Psychoactive Substances Rises To 79 Says Ombudsman

The number of prisoner deaths in which the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) may have played a part has now risen to at least 79, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Tonight (11/7/2017) he addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Penal Affairs at the House of Lords. Looking back at his six-year… Continue Reading

HMP COLDINGLEY – Disrespectful, decrepit, large drug use, serious violence and buildings unfit for purpose

    Coldingley is a category C training and resettlement prison in Surrey holding just over 500 adult male prisoners. Nearly all the men held were serving long sentences, up to and including life. The prison aimed to provide opportunities for these men to develop their work-based and educational skills, and had a well-founded reputation… Continue Reading

HMP/YOI Feltham – Violence Must Be Tackled

HMP/YOI Feltham was not safe enough, violence had risen and boys and young men spent too long locked in their cells, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. There were, however, many examples of good work by staff, he added. Today he published two reports of unannounced inspections of the West London young offender institution.… Continue Reading

HMP Birmingham – Availability of Drugs Still Affecting Safety

The stability of HMP Birmingham was being adversely affected by the high volume of illicit drugs available, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Prison managers and staff were clearly committed to moving on and making progress after the disturbance last year, he added. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the… Continue Reading

Older Prisoners: 4 Years & 5 Justice Secretary’s After Justice Committee Produced A Report on Older Prisoners – Still No Progress

HM Prison and Probation Service needs a national strategy to address the needs of the increasing numbers of elderly prisoners living – and dying – in jail so that they can be managed and cared for more appropriately, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Today he published a report on older prisoners. One… Continue Reading

HMP Lincoln – poor response to deaths in custody investigations, high levels of violence and self harm

HMP Lincoln was struggling to hold prisoners safely and in decent conditions, but staff were working to address these challenges, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the local jail. HMP Lincoln is a Victorian prison holding over 600 remand and sentenced adult and young… Continue Reading

Brixton Prison ‘Is Not Safe’ – the second report of unsafe London prisons in two days

HMP Brixton was not safe, and the work, training and education it provided for prisoners needed to improve, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the local London jail – it is the second report of unsafe London prisons in two days HMP Brixton is… Continue Reading

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