HMP 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: justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons