Category Archives: HM Prisons Inspectorate

HMP HUMBER – Prison dealing with significant issues including many young prisoners with mental health needs

#prisoninspections HMP Humber, a training prison holding 1,000 men, faced major challenges in supporting many among its young population with mental health problems and in maintaining security in its large rural site, prison inspectors found.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said there was “evidence of significant need among the comparatively young population. Many prisoners were serving short sentences and nearly 60% had been at the prison for less than six months. There was no doubt that the prison was managing considerable risks.”

A report on the inspection in November and December 2017 noted that half of prisoners surveyed said they had mental health problems and 11% said they felt suicidal on arrival at the prison. Mr Clarke added that the extent of vulnerability in the population “was arguably reflected in the high levels of self-harm. Five prisoners had sadly taken their own lives since we last inspected, although all but one were before 2017.” There had been 335 self-harm incidents by 115 prisoners in the six months prior to the inspection. Five men were responsible for 80 incidents. Inspectors noted, though, that prisoners at risk of self-harm felt supported by the prison.

While the “healthy prison assessments” by inspectors had changed only marginally since the previous inspection of Humber in 2015, Mr Clarke said: “We found a reasonably stable prison where there seemed to be a new-found and growing confidence about its future.” Despite this optimism, though, Humber – a merger of a former borstal and a more modern jail in east Yorkshire – was still not safe enough, with high levels of victimisation, intimidation and violence, some of it serious, and use of force by staff. “The evidence suggested that much of the violence was underpinned by a pervasive drug culture. Nearly two-thirds of prisoners thought drugs were easy to obtain and 29% claimed to have acquired a drug problem while at the prison,” Mr Clarke said. The rural setting, extended perimeter and geographical extent of the prison “presented real security vulnerabilities and supervisory challenges.”

The prison had several initiatives, some more advanced than others, to combat violence and confront drugs. The report noted that in one initiative prisoners were only allowed photocopies of their post to prevent paper soaked in new psychoactive substances (NPS) from entering the prison. “There had been a reduction in NPS-related incidents after this measure was introduced and it had been a justifiable short-term response to a very serious NPS problem. However, this intrusive measure had caused much anger among prisoners, and needed to remain demonstrably proportionate and effective.” Mr Clarke urged the prison to develop “more joined-up thinking with respect to the ongoing battle against drugs.”

Humber remained a reasonably respectful prison, inspectors found. Staff-prisoner relationships were good, the prison environment was generally decent and most cells were adequate, although too many were overcrowded.  About a quarter of prisoners were sharing cells originally designed for one. Though the prison routine – its regime – was predictable, “a third of prisoners were locked up during the working day, which was very disappointing for a training prison.” Some men could be locked up for 23 hours a day. Support for those being released was generally good.

Mr Clarke said:

“Humber was a prison with significant issues to address. That said, we were confident that the new governor and her team were aware of the gaps and had the capability and confidence to continue their programme of improvement. They needed to sustain the progress of the preceding year and build on what they had achieved. The prison was, in our view, well led and the staff group appeared to us to be committed. There was good reason to be optimistic about what could be achieved at Humber.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, said:

“I’m pleased that the Inspectorate has acknowledged the progress made at Humber over the last 12 months. A robust strategy is in place to tackle illicit drug use, including a new specialist Intelligence Unit which will work closely with police colleagues to target drug supplies. Work to support vulnerable prisoners has been strengthened and staff are receiving additional mental health training. The Governor will use the recommendations in the report to drive further improvements over the next 12 months.”

A copy of the full report, published on 17 April 2018, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at:

HMYOI Brinsford no increase in violence but a ‘dreadful’ rise in self-harm

HMYOI Brinsford avoided massive increases in violence seen in many other jails but must address a ‘dreadful’ rise in self-harm by young adult prisoners and change a regime in which they are locked in cells for long periods of the day, according to prison inspectors. Brinsford was inspected in November 2017. Inspectors concluded that “boredom… Continue Reading

HMP Leeds, a large and severely overcrowded inner-city Victorian prison, assessed for the second consecutive inspection, as unsafe with high levels of violence

HMP Leeds, a large and “severely overcrowded” inner-city Victorian prison, was assessed by prison inspectors, for the second consecutive inspection, as unsafe with high levels of violence, according to a new report on the West Yorkshire jail. Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, urged HMP Leeds to tackle the causes of the ‘poor’ safety… Continue Reading

HMP & YOI ROCHESTER – Commendable Progress Despite Disruption From A Rescinded Decision To Close The Prison

HMP & YOI Rochester, a training and resettlement prison in Kent holding adult and young adult male prisoners, had shown encouraging progress despite the “significant disruption” of a period in which it was told it would close but was then kept open, according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons. The leadership at Rochester… Continue Reading

Harmondsworth IRC – Holding large numbers of Detainees with mental health problems in ‘prison like’ conditions.

Harmondsworth immigration removal centre (IRC) at Heathrow, holding large numbers of men with mental health problems in prison-like conditions, continued to show “considerable failings” in safety and respect for detainees, according to prison inspectors. Publishing a report on an inspection in September 2017, Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said a 2015 inspection of… Continue Reading

HMP Parc Young Persons’ Unit – Chief Inspector welcomes work to reverse recent deterioration in standards

The Young Persons’ Unit at HMP & YOI Parc near Bridgend in South Wales has shown “quite significant improvement’ in key aspects, including safety, in the past year, inspectors found. Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said Parc had often received positive inspection results and he welcomed work by the management to turn around… Continue Reading

HMP Usk and HMP & YOI Prescoed – “Still fundamentally successful prisons”

HMP Usk, a small jail specialising in sex offender programmes, and the nearby HMP and YOI Prescoed, an open prison, remained “fundamentally successful” establishments, inspectors found in 2017. The two prisons in south east Wales are distinct establishments three-and-a-half miles apart, but run by the same management team. Usk is a small category C training… Continue Reading

Inspectorate warns of links to organised crime at Lindholme

Inmates with gang connections are determined to carry on “plying their trade” behind bars, a watchdog has warned. HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) flagged up the impact of holding hundreds of men with links to organised crime in the same establishment. An inspection report found drugs and violence were rife at HMP Lindholme in South Yorkshire.… Continue Reading

HMYOI Cookham Wood: Violence and self-harm have increased at a youth jail

In the year since the last inspection of HMYOI Cookham Wood in September 2016, when a total of 54 recommendations were made (below), 16 had been implemented by the time of this inspection. An Implementation rate of 30%. Safety: 15 recommendations made, 7 implemented. Respect: 20 recommendations made, 4 implemented. Purposeful Activity: 8 recommendations made, 2 implemented.… Continue Reading

HMP SWANSEA: “Grudging acceptance of change or passive resistance will not suffice” to address complacency and inexcusable safer custody failures, says Chief Inspector

Background: In the three years since the last inspection of HMP Swansea in October 2014, when a total of 58 recommendations were made, just 8 had been implemented by the time of this inspection. An Implementation rate of just 14%. Safety: 17 recommendations made, 2 implemented. Respect: 20 recommendations made, 5 implemented. Purposeful Activity: 11… Continue Reading