HMP Manchester, a large local jail with a small number of high-security prisoners, was found by inspectors to have become less safe and respectful, and to have deteriorated in its provision of training and education, over four years.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said that in 2014 the prison had been assessed as reasonably good across all four of HM Inspectorate of Prisons’ ‘healthy prison tests.’

In June and July 2018, only its rehabilitation and release work had remained reasonably good. It was now assessed as ‘not sufficiently good’ for safety, respect and purposeful activity, in what Mr Clarke described as a “disappointing inspection”. He warned the prison against complacency in its view of its own performance.

SAFETY: Prisoners spent too long locked up in reception and there were gaps in first night care. Induction processes were reasonably good. Levels of violence had increased and were high and one in three prisoners felt unsafe. It was too soon to judge the effectiveness of promising work to reduce violence. The use of force was high and lacked sufficient scrutiny. The regime on the segregation unit was poor. Some aspects of security work were excellent. The drug strategy was inadequate. There had been three self-inflicted deaths in the last six months. Levels of self-harm had increased and the care provided to prisoners in crisis was too variable. Outcomes for prisoners were not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in HMP Manchester were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 22 recommendations in the area of safety. At this inspection we found that 11 of the recommendations had been achieved, one had been partially achieved and 10 had not been achieved.

RESPECT: Relationships between staff and prisoners required improvement. Many parts of the prison were in disrepair. Areas in residential units were dirty and infested with vermin. Consultation and peer support were reasonable. There was a lack of confidence in application and complaints processes. Work on equality and diversity remained underdeveloped. There had been improvements in the provision of health, social care and substance misuse support services. Outcomes for prisoners were not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in HMP Manchester were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 29 recommendations in the area of respect. At this inspection we found that 10 of the recommendations had been achieved, two had been partially achieved and 17 had not been achieved.

PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITY:  Too many prisoners were locked up during the core day instead of being engaged in purposeful activity and despite the availability of sufficient activity spaces for every prisoner. Prisoners in the general population could attend an appropriate range of activities but vulnerable prisoners and category A prisoners were disadvantaged. Prisoner allocation to activities was poor and not enough was done to improve attendance or punctuality. Prisoners who did attend activities behaved well. Too few prisoners completed their courses but achievements for those who did were good. Outcomes for prisoners were not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in HMP Manchester were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 12 recommendations in the area of purposeful activity. At this inspection we found that four of the recommendations had been achieved, two had been partially achieved and six had not been achieved.

REHABILITATION & RELEASE PLANNING:  Children and families work was reasonably good but the visits experience for some families was difficult. There were gaps in the reducing reoffending strategy which resulted in a shortfall in services for some prisoners. Some good casework demonstrated a proper focus on risk and sentence plans. Contact between offender supervisors and prisoners was good in many cases but was still inconsistent. MAPPA (multi-agency public protection arrangements) processes were managed well. More prisoners were being released on home detention curfew (HDC), although some were delayed beyond their earliest release date. Available interventions were appropriately targeted. All prisoners had a resettlement plan but too many prisoners were released without settled accommodation. Outcomes for prisoners were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. At the last inspection in 2014, we found that outcomes for prisoners in HMP Manchester were reasonably good against this healthy prison test. We made 12 recommendations in the area of resettlement.7 At this inspection we found that three of the recommendations had been achieved and nine had not been achieved.

Overall, Mr Clarke said:

“HMP Manchester is a complex prison with a very important role in protecting the public. The prison seemed to be adequately resourced and we were told that the prison had been improving of late. Local managers had a stated commitment to ensuring the basics were right, although if we had an overarching criticism it would be that, in fact, the basics were not always well attended to. The prison had to guard against complacency and in many respects ‘up its game’.”

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