whattonHMP Whatton had a clear sense of purpose and was doing some excellent work to reduce the risks posed by the prisoners it held, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison in Nottinghamshire.

HMP Whatton is a category C prison holding over 800 prisoners. It provides services that seek to address the offending behaviour of mainly sex offenders. Over 90% of its population are serving long sentences in excess of four years, with just fewer than three quarters serving indeterminate or life sentences. Prisoners held at Whatton come from across the country and about two-thirds are over the age of 40. At its last inspection in 2012, inspectors reported positively on the prison, which was doing some excellent work with a settled but high-risk population. This more recent inspection found the same.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • Whatton remained an overwhelmingly safe prison and there was comparatively little violence or antisocial behaviour;
  • care for those in crisis was good, though levels of self-harm had increased in recent times;
  • security arrangements were proportionate and the segregation unit was well managed;
  • the amount of time prisoners had out of cell was very good;
  • the quality of teaching, learning and coaching was excellent and prisoners developed useful skills;
  • public protection work was mostly good;
  • there was an extensive range of offending behaviour programmes to meet need and support the prison’s main function; and
  • relationships between staff and prisoners were very good.


However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • there was some evidence that medications were being diverted and used illicitly;
  • although the environment and quality of accommodation was generally good, conditions on B wing remained poor; and
  • the way race diversity complaints were answered was poor and required immediate attention.


Peter Clarke said:
“This was another excellent report on a prison with a clear sense of purpose. The prison was well led and had benefitted greatly from a settled senior team who were striving for continuous improvement. The prison had a number of advantages – notably a generally mature and compliant population – but also challenges in terms of managing and reducing, on behalf of the public, the significant offending behaviour risks of those they held. The prison made the most of its advantages, evidenced much good practice and delivered good outcomes.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service, said:

“I am pleased to see the inspectorate notes the good work taking place at Whatton. The prison provides those in their care a meaningful programme to prepare them for release.

“Whatton manages a high risk prisoner population with care and professionalism. The Governor and her team deserve full credit for this positive Inspection outcome. They will use the recommendations in the report to address the areas identified for further improvement.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at:

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