HMP Warren Hill had gone through a period of change and had made remarkable progress, said Martin Lomas, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the Suffolk prison.
For many years, HMP Warren Hill held boys aged 15 to 18. In September 2013 the prison was decommissioned as a young person’s prison. In December 2013 it was decided that the prison would hold category C adult male prisoners with a sentence of four years and over. The prison was also commissioned to provide a therapeutic community (TC) because a similar facility was closing at HMP Blundeston. The TC moved to the prison in February 2014. In May 2014 the prison was also asked to provide a post-treatment psychologically informed planned environment (PIPE) unit, which opened in June of that year. In September 2014, the prison was again re-roled to pilot what was termed a progression regime for men on indeterminate sentences who had previously absconded, failed to return from a release on temporary licence (ROTL), attempted to escape, or been convicted of a criminal offence while on licence. The progression regime was developed to allow these men to demonstrate to the Parole Board future suitability for release through a programme of risk reduction in a closed prison.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- the prison was safe and provided good care for new arrivals and those who were vulnerable;
- levels of violence were very low, as were incidents of self-harm;
- relationships between staff and prisoners were excellent and the staff culture emphasised a professional and caring, but challenging approach;
- all prisoners were allocated a personal officer who aimed to encourage prisoners to take responsibility for their actions and reduce their risk of reoffending;
- resettlement work was central and focused on the therapy taking place in the TC, the post-treatment consolidation in the PIPE and supporting risk reduction in the progression regime;
- the whole prison was set up to support the work of reducing the risk of reoffending;
- it was early days for the new regime but its approach was promising; and
- time out of cell was excellent.
However, inspectors found that formal learning and skills provision, including the quality of teaching, needed to improve.
Martin Lomas said:
“Some impressive progress had been made at Warren Hill despite the amount and speed of change over the past couple of years. The progression regime had been developed from scratch to meet the needs of the group of prisoners who could no longer progress to the open estate, and it was showing real promise. The level of innovation was impressive, and many aspects of the regime and approach adopted could provide lessons to other prisons about how resettlement and risk reduction can be placed at the heart of a prison. The prison was very well led and was supported by an excellent staff group; this delivered some outstanding outcomes for prisoners.”
A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 9 February 2016 at: justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons