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 strong action to address Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) recommendations following deaths in custody. Safeguarding procedures were very good. With some exceptions, security was proportionate. There was significant drug use but a robust approach to supply reduction was in place. Governance of use of force was weak. Most prisoners spent only short periods in the segregation unit. Substance misuse services were generally good. Outcomes for prisoners against this healthy prison test were reasonably good. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in Thameside were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 12 recommendations in the area of respect. At this follow-up inspection we found that six of the recommendations had been achieved, one had been partially achieved and five had not been achieved.
RESPECT: Previous recommendations made in 2014 achieved: 25% The prison was generally clean and provided some very good facilities that were highly valued by prisoners. Staff-prisoner relationships were good. There were some positive elements of diversity work, but management structures had lapsed until recently. Faith provision was very good. Prisoners had little confidence in the complaints system and some responses were poor. Health services were unable to meet need and prisoners had significant problems in accessing the provision. The quality of food was good. Outcomes for prisoners against this healthy prison test were reasonably good. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in Thameside were good against this healthy prison test.We made 20 recommendations in the area of respect. At this followup inspection we found that five of the recommendations had been achieved and 15 had not been achieved.
PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITY: Previous recommendations made in 2014 achieved: 37% Time out of cell was reasonable for most prisoners but a significant number were locked up for too long. There were insufficient activity places and attendance was not good enough. The quality of education and other aspects of learning and skills had improved and was reasonably good. However, management, quality of provision and outcomes in prison-led activities required improvement. Library and PE provision were good. Outcomes for prisoners against this healthy prison test were not sufficiently good. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in Thameside were not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test. We made 19 recommendations in the area of respect. At this follow-up inspection we found that seven of the recommendations had been achieved, seven had been partially achieved and five had not been achieved.
RESETTLEMENT: Previous recommendations made in 2014 achieved: 54% Management of resettlement was good. Offender management was better than we often see, and the quality of OASys (offender assessment system) assessments was reasonable. There had been serious delays with home detention curfew (HDC) assessments. There was good work with indeterminate sentence prisoners. Initial public protection screening was robust but there were weaknesses in subsequent processes. Recategorisation was reasonably efficient. Resettlement planning and work were generally good. There was some very good work to support families. The visits environment was adequate. Outcomes for prisoners against this healthy prison test were reasonably good. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in Thameside were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 11 recommendations in the area of respect. At this follow-up inspection we found that six of the recommendations had been achieved, three had been partially achieved and two had not been achieved
PRESS RELEASE FROM HMIP:
HMP Thameside, in south east London, effectively tackled gangs and avoided the huge rises in violence seen in other jails, according to Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.
In a report on an unannounced inspection, published today, Mr Clarke also noted that despite a very high turnover of prisoners at Thameside, with an average stay of only 36 days, the prison maintained a generally settled and respectful atmosphere.
Thameside, inspectors concluded, offered an unusually high number of good practice points from which others might learn.
Thameside is a modern prison in a group with HMP Belmarsh and HMP Isis in south east London. It opened in 2012 and serves the courts of east and south east London. It is run by Serco and at the time of the inspection, in May 2017, held just over 1,200 prisoners, both sentenced and remand. The prison was last inspected in September 2014.
Among positive aspects, inspectors noted that:
- While violence levels were high and had not fallen over the past three years, there had been a small but consistent reduction in incidents of violence, particularly associated with gang activity, in the months before the inspection.
- Overall, Thameside avoided the huge increases seen elsewhere. Maintaining a database of gang affiliations helped keep different gang members apart and avoid potential conflict. The prison had a reasonably calm atmosphere and was well ordered.
- The largest identified security threats to the prison were contraband, violence, escapes, gangs and staff corruption. Links with the police were generally good. Work to tackle staff corruption was also good; three former staff were serving custodial sentences for corruption.
- Buildings and grounds were mostly in good condition and an AstroTurf football pitch appeared to be in near constant use. The gym was also well-used.
- There was especially good access to showers and in-cell telephones, which allowed prisoners to maintain contact with families. Prisoners were much more positive about the quality and range of meals than HMIP normally sees. There was good use of the ‘virtual campus’ – giving internet access to community education, training and employment opportunities.
Areas for improvement included:
- One prisoner in four said it was easy to get hold of illicit drugs and although there was a focused drug supply reduction strategy in place more needed to be done to reduce the availability of drugs.
- The governance and oversight of use of force were poor, though each month managers discussed officers who had used force more than twice in the previous month, which helped to ensure that force was used appropriately.
- There were also not enough activity places and attendance was not good enough. Overall, around 55% of prisoners got to activities, which was not enough in a jail of this kind.
- The very high turnover of prisoners had a direct impact on education and vocational achievements, as too many prisoners were starting courses that they could not complete because of release or transfer. Those who managed to stay on accredited courses achieved well.
A copy of the full report, published on 12 September 2017, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons