HMP Nottingham had experienced many changes and increased its population, but had still made some improvements, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced short follow-up inspection of the local jail.
HMP Nottingham held just over 1,000 men with over a third on remand and a small number aged under 21. It had almost doubled in size since its last inspection in 2010 and its focus had moved away from being a community prison to a local prison. At its last inspection in 2010, inspectors found that the prison was achieving reasonably good outcomes for prisoners in all four healthy prison tests: safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement. This short follow-up inspection found sufficient progress had been made on safety, respect and purposeful activity but insufficient progress on resettlement.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- significant steps had been taken to improve the safety of vulnerable prisoners and to ensure they had equitable access to the regime;
- use of the special cell had ceased;
- actions to address significant issues raised by black and minority ethnic prisoners relating to staff-prisoner relationships had been identified, but not yet implemented;
- sufficient purposeful activity places were now available; and
- recommendations about education and training had mostly been achieved with significant improvements in qualification rates.
However, inspectors had some concerns:
- there were still no constructive interventions to change the behaviour of perpetrators or support victims of bullying;
- insufficient progress had been made in resettlement – there was no up-to-date needs analysis or action plan and offender supervisors were not seeing prisoners regularly enough; and
- some prisoners waited too long when a transfer to another prison was needed, and there were no interventions to address attitudes, thinking and behaviour.
Nick Hardwick said:
“HMP Nottingham had experienced considerable changes since our last inspection with a significantly increased population and a change in role. Despite these challenges, there has been a positive response to some key findings from our last inspection.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has noted the good progress being made at HMP Nottingham.
“During a period of considerable change the governor and staff have worked well to follow the previous report’s recommendations with some significant improvements made.
“Work will continue to further improve performance, particularly with regard to resettlement.”
Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said the seemingly few criticisms masked the seriousness of the issues themselves.
“Although generally a good report the few criticisms made mask the seriousness of the issues themselves – for example failing to address bullying behaviour means those who prey on vulnerable prisoners will take that attitude back out with them onto the streets.
“Similarly, failing to address offending behaviour strikes right at the heart of what are prisons are supposed to do in terms of reducing reoffending – Nottingham prison it seems is little more than a warehouse for prisoners where little is done to reduce the victims of crime in the future and that is not what our jails are supposed to be about.
“Prison should be a journey – not a destination.”