Category Archives: Prison – Dovegate

HMP DOVEGATE: ‘Therapeutic Prison – Impressive Institution Working With High-Risk Violent Men’

Dovegate Therapeutic Prison (TP) in Staffordshire, which holds 200 men from across the prison service undergoing intensive programmes to reduce the risk they pose, was found by inspectors to be an impressive institution.

The men, most of whom are serving long or indeterminate sentences for serious offences, live in one of five therapeutic communities (TCs), and an induction unit. The TP is linked to the mainstream HMP Dovegate but was inspected separately.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector or Prisons, said: “The underlying ethos of TCs is that both staff and prisoners have a real say in how the communities are run. Men involved must be willing to be open about their offending and related institutional behaviour and to being challenged by their peers and staff. Therapy is embedded into all TC activities, not just in individual and group therapy sessions. It is a structured, externally validated intervention, and for men who go through the whole process, it lasts approximately two and a half years. Most men in the TP were serving very long determinate or indeterminate sentences.”

Inspectors found Dovegate TP to be a safe prison. Despite the histories of violent offending by many prisoners, there was very little violence in the TP. Men received good support on arrival, including the small number who felt vulnerable and were at risk of self-harm. There had been no self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection in 2013. Dovegate TP was also a respectful prison, with good staff-prisoner relationships at the core of the therapeutic approach. Physical conditions were excellent, as was the external environment, and men felt well cared for, both by staff and their peers. Consultation arrangements were very strong, and the food provided was good. Time out of cell was also good, though teaching and learning was not consistent.

Most men felt they were making progress in the TCs and inspectors were struck by the insights the men had about their past behaviour and offending and about how different and productive their future could be.

Overall, Mr Clarke said:

“Dovegate TP was impressive. A national resource, it was part of the offender personality disorder pathway. It worked with men intensively over a period of years to better understand their problematic behaviour, attitudes and thinking patterns and to help them change. Most men who reached the end of the process made progress, and over 80% of respondents in our survey said they felt they had done something at the prison to make it less likely they would reoffend in the future. Learning, skills and work activities needed to better complement the prison’s therapeutic aims, and the clinical model underpinning therapy work needed to be implemented in full. However, in nearly all other respects the work the prison was carrying out was excellent.”

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

“I am pleased with this report which rightly recognises the impressive performance and positive environment at Dovegate Therapeutic Community, in particular the constructive staff-prisoner relationships. Many high risk prisoners are benefiting from the intensive work done to support rehabilitation and reduce the risk of reoffending.”

 Notes to editors

  1. A copy of the full report, published on 17 July 2018, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at:
  2. HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
  3. HMP Dovegate was built in 2001 as a category B training prison. It had the first purpose-built custodial TP holding up to 200 residents. A small local prison servicing the courts also exists within the main prison. A TP consists of several distinct therapeutic communities (TCs) in which people choose to live together, support each other, challenge others and be challenged on all aspects of their offending. It aims to alter people’s way of thinking, enabling them to change their lives for the better. The TCs are run democratically, which means that where possible all members of the community are involved in making decisions that affect the community. Prisoners are encouraged to play an active role in their community and a variety of roles and representative jobs are available. Communities are learning experiences and everything was designed to have therapeutic value and provide men with an opportunity to develop within a safe environment.
  4. This unannounced inspection took place between 12 and 22 March 2018.
  5. For more on how HMI Prisons inspects prisons and places of detention, please read –

Dovegate escapee recaptured

A violent criminal who escaped from prison before reportedly fleeing to Spain has been arrested. Haroon Ahmed has been on the run since fleeing from HMP Dovegate, near Marchington, Staffordshire, on Wednesday afternoon. Claims emerged over the weekend that the 26-year-old had fled to Marbella on the Costa del Sol. He reportedly said he escaped… Continue Reading

Hunt for violent escaped Category B prisoner

Police are hunting for a prisoner convicted of a violent robbery who has escaped. Haroon Ahmed, 26, from the Derby area, escaped from HMP Dovegate, near Marchington, Staffordshire, at around 4.15pm on Wednesday, Staffordshire Police said. Due to his violent conviction police advise members of the public not to approach him but to instead ring… Continue Reading

HMP Dovegate Therapeutic Community – Working Effectively to Reduce The Risk of Reoffending

HMP Dovegate’s Therapeutic Community was doing some good work with prisoners to reduce the risk they posed, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the facility at the Staffordshire jail. The Dovegate Therapeutic Community (TC) is a distinct institution holding up to 200 men, contained within the… Continue Reading