HMP Send was a safe and decent prison which did excellent work to rehabilitate the women it held, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the women’s prison in Surrey.
HMP Send holds just over 280 convicted women prisoners, well over half of whom are serving long or indeterminate sentences for serious offences. Its last inspection was in 2011 and found a settled institution with an impressive regime for prisoners. This inspection found that improvement has continued and Send is now a very successful prison. It is one of the few prisons to achieve the highest grading for outcomes across all four healthy prison tests: safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement. An excellent range of interventions was offered to address offending behaviour, including a facility to address the needs of women with a personality disorder.
Inspectors were also pleased to find that:
- Send was a very safe institution where violent incidents were very rare;
- levels of self-harm continued to reduce and care for those who were vulnerable was good;
- there was little evidence of significant illicit drug use;
- women with alcohol issues received appropriate support;
- living conditions and the environment were generally very good and relationships between staff and prisoners were particularly strong;
- mental health provision was impressive;
- prisoners had a good amount of time out of cell and reasonable access to the prison’s grounds;
- learning and skills provision was well managed and there was sufficient education, training and work for all the women held; and
- resettlement services were much better than inspectors usually see and offender management arrangements were good.
Inspectors felt that the promotion of equality and diversity required attention, although most outcomes were reasonable, and also thought support for women who had been victims of domestic violence should be improved. The incentives and earned privileges (IEP) arrangements supported the safety of the prison but some requirements, notably that the hoods be cut off women’s coats, were ridiculous.
Nick Hardwick said:
“We highlight a number of relatively minor concerns that will assist the prison, but overall this is an excellent report that describes the work of a very effective prison. Women, some of whom are dealing with long sentences and considerable personal challenges and risks, are kept safely and in a prison that affords them respect. They use their time usefully and their risks are addressed meaningfully. This is not only a good prison; it is a useful and effective prison. The governor and staff should be congratulated on their success.”
A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 3 June 2014 at: http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons