Category Archives: HM Prisons Inspectorate

HMP NORTH SEA CAMP – A Safe Jail Mixing Sex Offenders With Other Prisoners With Little Violence Or Hostility


HMP North Sea Camp, a category D resettlement prison near Boston in Lincolnshire, mixed sex offenders with other prisoners but achieved an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence, according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP).

Inspectors found negligible levels of violence and use of force by staff, earning the prison – home to just over 400 men, most serving long sentence and 60% of them sex offenders – the highest rating of ‘good’ for safety.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: “There was no segregation unit, and no need for one. The fact that the population was fully integrated yet there was little if any hostility towards sex offenders was a tribute to the ethos of the prison and the care that was taken to generate an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence and tolerance.” The report noted: “A ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy was used well to address the fears of men who were vulnerable because of their offence about living in a mixed population.”

HMP North Sea Camp was also rated as good for resettlement work – its core function as an open prison. Mr Clarke said the prison had “moved on dramatically” since the last inspection, in 2014. At that time there was still concern about a serious incident that took place during a release on temporary licence (ROTL), exposing weaknesses in the resettlement process.

Mr Clarke added: “Relationships between staff and prisoners were respectful, which was a major strength of the prison and the basis on which much of the progress of the past few years was clearly built. The senior leadership, and indeed all staff, were committed to producing a safe and decent environment in which the men could make progress towards eventual release and successful resettlement.”

Inspectors, however, raised some concerns:

  • Prisoner accommodation was in a poor state. The residential units were old, far too many of the rooms were too small to be used for double occupancy and the showers and toilets urgently needed refurbishment. However, it was clear that a comparatively modest investment could deliver significant improvements.
  • The prison had several houses outside the gate known as the Jubilee units, which offered men coming towards the end of their sentences excellent opportunities to gain resettlement experience. However, several of these houses were unused, virtually derelict and needed refurbishment.

The inspection also found a tension between performance measures used by HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), which judged performance based on the numbers of prisoners placed in work within the prison, and what should have been the objective of the prison, which was to maximise the use of ROTL.

The report noted: “The prison was not credited for those prisoners employed under ROTL outside the confines of the prison. The governor was, appropriately, concerned to get as many men working under ROTL as possible but the performance targets were causing some concern.”


It seems, Mr Clarke said, that the HMPPS performance measure had been designed for the closed prison estate, and it should be revisited to make it appropriate for open prisons. “As it stood, there was an incentive not to achieve in full the core purpose of the prison.”

Mr Clarke said:

“Overall, HMP North Sea Camp had made very real progress since the last inspection. It was a safe and decent prison with some bold policies relating to the management of its complex population, and it was now a successful establishment.”

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

“I’m pleased that the excellent work being done by the Governor and her staff at North Sea Camp has been recognised in the report. The focus on skills training and effective resettlement is really important in supporting effective rehabilitation and keeping the public safe. The Governor will build on the progress made to further improve performance at North Sea Camp over the next twelve months.”

Tobacco costs twice as much as Spice

Prisoners can buy the drug known as Spice at half the cost of illicit tobacco behind bars, an inspection report reveals. Inmates at one jail described how the availability of drugs, coupled with a recently imposed smoking ban, had helped fuel a sense of “hopelessness”. Spice – a synthetic substance that mimics the effects of… Continue Reading

HMP Portland: 62% of HMIP Previous Recommendations Not Implemented At This Violent & Unsafe Prison

SAFETY: Reception staff were very welcoming, and procedures for new arrivals were appropriate. The first night unit was a decent environment where prisoners felt supported. Too many prisoners felt unsafe and levels of violence were very high. Self-harm was also high and often serious. The establishment’s response to diminished safety was inadequate. The incentives and… Continue Reading

HMYOI Wetherby: Three-Quarters of HMIP Recommendations Not Implemented At This Volatile Institution

OVERVIEW SAFETY:  Many boys arrived too late from court to benefit from a safe introduction to the establishment. There was a shortage of important basic items and boys spent too long locked in sparse cells on Wetherby’s induction unit. Too many boys did not feel safe and some safeguarding practices increased risk. Levels of self-harm… Continue Reading

HMP GRENDON – An Impressive Prison Working With Long Term Inmates

HMP Grendon offered excellent opportunities to the men it held to understand and address their offending behaviour, said Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison in Buckinghamshire. HMP Grendon holds just over 200 men, all of whom are serving long sentences. All… Continue Reading

HMP Thameside – 59% of Recommendations Made by HMIP in 2014 Not Achieved

HMP THAMESIDE OVERVIEW OF INSPECTION SAFETY: Previous recommendations made in 2014 achieved: 50% Initial risk assessment of new prisoners was not always robust, but early days peer support was good and induction was thorough. There was good work to manage violence, and the prison was well ordered. There was a significant level of self-harm but there had been… Continue Reading

NEW: Fire Safety in Prisons: When Theory & Practice Slip Their Handcuffs

Just weeks after the Grenfell Tower disaster in June this year the newly elected Kensington and Chelsea Deputy Council leader, Kim Taylor-Smith, told the BBC that despite being a member of the council’s Housing Scrutiny Committee for over a year, he was unaware of residents repeated warnings about fire safety in the building. It seemed… Continue Reading

HMP Bullingdon – 70% of HMIP Recommendations Made in 2015 Have Not Been Implemented

HMP Bullingdon – a large, complex prison in Oxfordshire – faced significant challenges, including high levels of violence, drugs and gang problems and poor offender management and assessment of post-release risk to the public, according to Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons – but the reality is that this inspection shows 70% of recommendations made… Continue Reading

HMYOI AYLESBURY: A National Humiliation

VIEW OUR VIDEO BLOG ON THIS REPORT By Mark Leech, Editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales HMYOI Aylesbury had deteriorated further in some areas and safety was a major concern, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the young offender institution in… Continue Reading

HMP Haverigg – Improvements but more to do

HMP Haverigg had a troubled past but was making improvements, and providing good work, training and education for prisoners, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison in Cumbria. HMP Haverigg, when last inspected in 2014, was holding around 650 men. At this… Continue Reading