Category Archives: High Security Prisons

HMP FULL SUTTON – A High-Performing High Security Prison

fullsuttonHMP Full Sutton was well led and met its challenges calmly and competently, said Martin Lomas, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the high security prison near York.

HMP Full Sutton is one of five high security dispersal prisons in England, holding just under 600 men. Nearly all its prisoners present significant risks to security and to the public. Almost half are serving life sentences. A small number of prisoners had committed offences connected to terrorist goals. At its last inspection in 2012, inspectors described an impressive establishment that was ensuring reasonably good or better outcomes against all four healthy prison tests: safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement. This remained the case after this more recent inspection.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • Full Sutton, notwithstanding the potential risks, is a safe prison;
  • reception arrangements were swift and induction was thorough;
  • violence remained rare and incidents were generally low level;
  • incidents of self-harm were relatively few, case management of those in crisis had improved and prisoners at risk felt well cared for;
  • security was well managed with arrangements to deal with gangs and potential radicalisation;
  • use of illicit drugs was very low level, although there was some evidence that new psychoactive substances (NPS) were becoming available;
  • the environment and quality of accommodation was generally very good and relationships between staff and prisoners were formal but respectful;
  • prisoners had good access to time out of cell and there was enough work, training and education for all to be employed at least part-time; and
  • the leadership and management of learning and skills was good and the range of work and training was reasonable.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • two prisoners had taken their own lives since the last inspection;
  • significant numbers of prisoners had been segregated and some for extended periods of time, but management supervision of the segregation unit was insufficient and accountability was lacking;
  • despite some reasonably good work to support groups with protected characteristics, more needed to be done to understand and tackle negative perceptions, in particular, from prisoners of a black and minority ethnic background and Muslim prisoners; and
  • the offender management unit needed a higher profile within the prison, almost one-third of prisoners did not have an up to date risk (OASys) assessment, sentence planning was weak and offender supervision too variable.

Martin Lomas said:

“HMP Full Sutton remains a high performing prison. We have raised some concerns, notably concerning the segregation unit, the promotion of equality and the need for better offender risk management. That said, the establishment is well led, confident and capable. It has a clearly defined role holding long-term in and in many cases, dangerous prisoners who have committed very serious offences. The prison discharges this responsibility with proportionality and ensures some good outcomes for those held.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service, said:
“This is a very good report on a complex prison managing some of the most dangerous offenders in the country.

“It is a tribute to the professionalism, commitment and quality of work undertaken by staff and managers at Full Sutton.

“A number of areas are identified where further improvement is required and these are being actively addressed by the Governor.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 5 May 2016 at:

One Jail for Terrorists – Is this the end of Dispersal?

A review of radicalisation in jails in England and Wales may support putting all Islamist terrorists into one unit to stop them preying on weak inmates- a move which one prisons expert has said carried too many risks. The terrorists would be locked up together in one “jihadi jail”, but the move would reverse a… Continue Reading

Prisons Inspectorate’s Thematic Review on Close Supervision Centres Published

Although clear progress had been made in clarifying the aims and processes of the system for managing the most dangerous prisoners in the country said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, in a Thematic Review report published today (25/8/2015) on Close Supervision Centres in English high security prisons, prison commentators also made clear there were… Continue Reading

HMP Belmarsh – Too much security too little purposeful activity say Inspectors

The focus on security that HMP Belmarsh needed for its small group of high-risk prisoners was having a disproportionate impact on its more mainstream population, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the south east London jail. HMP Belmarsh holds up to 800 prisoners, most… Continue Reading

Are Muslims Being Radicalised Inside Our Prisons?

‘The Stream’ Tonight on Aljazeera TV. Are Muslims being radicalised inside our prisons? Join myself & other guests for a one-hour live discussion on this subject tonight on Aljazeera TV at 19:30 GMT – Sky Channel 514 – and you can also catch it live on line at Mark Leech Editor: Converse The National… Continue Reading

Whole Life For Jail Killers

Two prisoners who tied up and strangled a fellow inmate while already serving life sentences for murder have been ordered to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Lee Newell, 44, and Gary Smith, 48, were both handed whole life sentences by a judge at Warwick Crown Court for the “chilling” murder of convicted… Continue Reading

Three on Prison Hostage Charges

Three prisoners will be charged with allegedly taking a guard hostage after an investigation by counter-terror police. Feroz Khan, Fuad Awale and David Watson, who were all inmates at HMP Full Sutton in North Yorkshire, are accused of false imprisonment on May 26 when it is claimed they held a prison officer against his will.… Continue Reading

Suspending Five Belmarsh Officers: ‘Perfectly Understandable’

Five prison officers have been suspended after a violent incident involving one of the men accused of killing Fusilier Lee Rigby – in a move which commentators say is ‘perfectly understandable’. They were stopped from working at one of the country’s top-security jails after a struggle with the Woolwich murder suspect. Michael Adebolajo lost two… Continue Reading

Muslim prisoners ‘injured’ after refusing to join Muslim prison gang

An increasing number of Muslim inmates complain they are being intimidated to join the Muslim Brotherhood, a prison gang, and some have received injuries following a refusal to do so. Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said he was aware of an ‘increasing number of complaints’ from… Continue Reading

Hostage incident linked to Rigby murder – Muslim inmates intimidated to join prison gang

Prison chiefs have linked an attack on a prison officer to the Lee Rigby murder and warned prison staff of an increased risk of threats, according to reports – while an increasing number of Muslim inmates complain they are being intimidated to join the Muslim Brotherhood, a prison gang, and some have received injuries following… Continue Reading