HMP/YOI Moorland – significant improvements in safety and respect but must address public protection weakness

HMP/YOI Moorland, an adult and young adult men’s resettlement prison near Doncaster, showed “reassuring” improvements since its previous inspection, particularly in reducing violence overall.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said that in February 2016 Moorland was uncertain about whether it would be privatised and was suffering very badly from the impact of illicit drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances (NPS).

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It was therefore heartening, Mr Clarke said, to see the progress in the past three years. Safety and respect had both gone up from an assessment of ‘not sufficiently good’ to ‘reasonably good’, and purposeful activity, including training and education, remained at sufficiently good. However, its work on rehabilitation and resettlement remained at ‘not sufficiently good.’

The improvements in safety and respect were a “significant achievement, and testament to a huge amount of hard work by all the leaders and staff at Moorland.

“Levels of violence had not only stabilised, but had actually decreased – clearly bucking the national trend over that period.” However, despite this overall reduction, assaults against staff had doubled and were higher than at similar prisons. Use of force by staff had increased since the last inspection, though levels were now similar to other category C prisons. It was also notable, Mr Clarke added, “that the prevalence of NPS seen at the last inspection has decreased.”

Self-harm was very high and it was disappointing that there were insufficient Listeners – prisoners trained by the Samaritans to provide confidential emotional support to fellow prisoners. Staff-prisoner relationships had improved considerably since 2016 and the prison’s key worker scheme was having a beneficial impact. In-cell telephones were “beneficial in many ways.” The prison was urged, though, to develop a better understanding of survey data suggesting adverse results for black and minority ethnic and disabled prisoners.

The most serious concern for inspectors was the lack of effective public protection measures. Over half the population, 530 men, were assessed as presenting a high risk and about a third were convicted sex offenders.

Mr Clarke said: “It was unacceptable that high risk prisoners approaching release were not receiving the detailed consideration that their potential risk to the public should have demanded.” Inspectors also noted that “arrangements to conduct and review telephone monitoring were chaotic and unmanageable. Child contact restrictions were poorly managed, and there were no assessments to support decisions.” Mr Clarke added: “Moorland has now been a resettlement prison for a number of years, and this whole area of responsibility, not only to the prisoners but also to the public, needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Overall, however, Mr Clarke said:

“This was a good inspection, and although there were some vital areas where improvement was still needed, it was obvious that the findings of the last inspection had been taken seriously… I would urge the leadership and staff at Moorland not to feel defensive about some of the issues raised in this report, which some might interpret as criticism. It is the duty of HM Inspectorate of Prisons to report on what we see, and if there are shortcomings we will point them out, in the spirit of helping to secure further improvements through recommendations. This was a reassuring inspection, and shows what can be achieved even in difficult and testing times, but it would be unduly complacent not to acknowledge that further improvement is necessary and achievable.”

Phil Copple, HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Director General of Prisons, said:

“This is a very promising report, and the decrease in violence and use of drugs is a testament to the huge amount of hard work by staff at HMP Moorland. We take the concerns raised around public protection very seriously and the prison is already implementing new plans for managing offenders’ release. We are also rolling out the key worker scheme – which gives each prisoner a dedicated officer for engagement and support and has led to a reduction in attacks on staff elsewhere – which should help the prison to build on the good progress that the inspection team have highlighted.”

Read the Report

HMP DARTMOOR – Prison with 70% sex offenders: “Shocking Failings in Public Protection” says Chief Inspector

dartmoorDartmoor, one of Britain’s oldest jails and home to hundreds of sex offenders, needs help from the prison service to improve “shocking” failings in its work to protect the public from the risk posed by men it releases, according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

The number of sex offenders had doubled over four years as a proportion of Dartmoor’s population – to 70%, around 440 at the time of the August 2017 inspection. There were also a substantial number of men serving long sentences for violence and other serious offences. It releases hundreds of men each year.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said the jail was well led in many ways but there was “confusion nationally” about its role. “Our most serious concerns related to resettlement. Dartmoor was not a designated resettlement prison, which meant it did not have adequate resources to effectively engage in pre-release planning.

“Despite this, over 200 men in the year leading up to the inspection had been released from the prison. Our projections indicated the number would be even higher next year. In addition, offender management provision did not ensure that men received support to reduce the risks of harm they might pose to the public on release, or that release planning for the highest-risk men was timely or comprehensive. This was a shocking and totally unacceptable situation, given the generally high-risk population being released from Dartmoor.”

The situation was exacerbated by the prison’s inability to move men to resettlement prisons in the local area and a hiatus in the delivery of specialist offending programmes for men convicted of sexual offences. Inspectors found that 511 of the 633 men in the jail were under MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements), the system for managing risk to the public. Despite this level of risk, they also found that:

  • Release planning for high-risk prisoners “was often unplanned, rushed and poor.” Far too many men left Dartmoor either homeless or in very temporary accommodation.
  • While national prisons strategy involved transferring men back to a local resettlement prison three months prior to their release, this did not happen in Dartmoor.
  • There was little provision at Dartmoor for men who were in denial of their sexual convictions and “too many sexual offenders were released without having sufficiently addressed their attitude, thinking or behaviour.”

Dartmoor was established in 1809 and has had many roles within the prison system, becoming, by 2017, a category C training prison. Inspectors noted that the prison had taken the “bold step” of integrating sex offenders and other prisoners, with low levels of violence.

In the heart of Dartmoor and built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, the prison remained under threat of closure and local managers felt this had resulted in a degree of ‘planning blight’, with a reluctance to invest in upgrading the poor infrastructure. Some buildings were poor, with pervasive damp in many cells. Nevertheless, men were found to be generally positive about the amenities offered, and staff-prisoner relationships were very good. Some good work had taken place to support disabled and elderly men at the prison, though a significant investment in adapting the buildings was needed if these men were to receive consistently good treatment.

Overall, Mr Clarke said:

“We had significant concerns about the lack of clarity relating to the prison’s resettlement and risk management responsibilities, and in particular its inability to carry out adequate pre-release planning for men being released from the prison. While we considered Dartmoor to be well led and making strides in some important areas, it was being hampered by confusion nationally about its role, doubts about its future and inadequate resources to do the job it was being asked to do. The solutions to many of the most significant concerns we raise in this report are not in the gift of the governor; the active support of HM Prison and Probation Service is needed.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said:

“Protecting the public is our priority and all high-risk offenders released from HMP Dartmoor are supervised by the National Probation Service. The vast majority are released to approved accommodation and all are seen by their probation officer on the first day of release to reinforce their licence conditions. A review of risk management arrangements has taken place and a new senior probation officer is also already in post to oversee the management of higher risk offenders. As the Chief Inspector makes clear the prison is well led and the Governor will receive the support she needs to address the recommendations set out in this report.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP Birmingham – Availability of Drugs Still Affecting Safety

HMP-Birmingham1The stability of HMP Birmingham was being adversely affected by the high volume of illicit drugs available, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Prison managers and staff were clearly committed to moving on and making progress after the disturbance last year, he added. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the local West Midlands jail.

HMP Birmingham holds a complex mix of prisoners and is characterised by a very high throughput, with around 500 new prisoners each month and an average stay of only six weeks. In December 2016 a major disturbance took place at the prison. Severe damage was caused to much of the more modern accommodation. Four wings were undergoing repairs at the time of the inspection and were not expected to be in use for some months. Following the disturbance, around 500 prisoners were moved out of the jail, leaving a population of over 900 to be housed in the older Victorian accommodation.

The inspection two months after this serious disturbance was not to enquire into events leading up to it, look for causal factors or comment on the handling of the disturbance. The decision to inspect was to establish the extent to which the prison was housing its remaining prisoners safely and decently and to see whether rehabilitative activity and resettlement work were being successfully delivered. It was also intended to give a snapshot of how the prison was performing in February 2017 to give the leadership a baseline from which they could plan the continuing recovery.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • the safety and stability of the prison were being adversely affected by the high volume of illicit drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances;
  • 50% of prisoners said it was easy to get drugs, and as in so many prisons, drugs were giving rise to high levels of violence, debt and bullying;
  • the prison had a good drug supply reduction strategy and was working well with local police, but more needed to be done;
  • there was still too much inconsistency in the way poor behaviour was dealt with by staff;
  • despite a good range of education and training provision, not enough prisoners were able to take advantage of what was on offer and there was insufficient priority given to getting prisoners to their activities.

 

Inspectors were, however, pleased to find that:

  • there were many positive interactions between staff and prisoners and, in general, staff-prisoner relationships were respectful;
  • health care was generally good; and
  • the community rehabilitation company (CRC) was working better than in other jails.

 

Peter Clarke said:

“The leadership of the prison was clearly committed to meeting the many challenges presented by this large and complex establishment. The events of December 2016 had had a profound effect upon many members of staff. There was still, some two months later, a palpable sense of shock at the suddenness and ferocity of what had happened. Despite this, there was a very clear determination on the part of leadership and staff to move on from the disorder, rebuild and make progress.

“I am well aware that this report is likely to receive very close attention from many people who would like to understand the reasons for the riot. That is not the purpose of this report, and to attempt to use it in that way would be a mistake. This report is no more, and no less, than an account of the treatment of prisoners and the conditions in which we saw them being held during the period of the inspection.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said:

“This report provides an overview of HMP Birmingham two months after the serious disturbance which took place on 16 December. The Chief Inspector rightly draws attention to the impact of the riot on prisoners and staff but describes a prison which is now ‘in recovery’ and making positive progress.

“There remains more to do to provide purposeful activity and to tackle violence and illicit drug use but the staff and the leadership team deserve credit for the commendable way they have responded to the challenges to date.

“We are determined to learn lessons from what happened at Birmingham and will work closely with G4S to achieve improvement. Additional staff are being recruited and G4S will use the recommendations in this report to drive progress over the coming months.”

A copy of the full report, published on 28 June, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP Norwich: Well-Led & Making Progress

norwichwing

HMP/YOI Norwich was well led, had continued to make progress and managed many of the challenges it faced, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the Norfolk jail.

HMP/YOI Norwich is a local prison holding a complex mix of remanded and sentenced category B, C and D adult prisoners and remanded and sentenced young adults. The prison is unusual as it is split across three separate sites, each with different functions. These complexities are a challenge for management. At the last inspection in 2013, inspectors found that the prison had made good progress. This more recent inspection found that progress had been maintained and, in some areas, built upon. Despite facing similar challenges to other local prisons, including lower staffing levels, increases in violence, and the influence of new psychoactive substances, prisoners were more likely to say they felt safe at Norwich than at other similar prisons. Proactive action had been taken to increase safety and, while more needed to be done, the approach had resulted in a more stable prison.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • arrangements for supporting newly arrived prisoners had improved, particularly for the many men who arrived with substance misuse issues;
  • the prison was overcrowded but still provided a basically decent living environment and staff-prisoner relationships were good;
  • Ofsted rated the provision of learning and skills as ‘good’ and attention had been paid to enhancing the work, training and education places available;
  • work to help prisoners resettle back into the community at the end of their sentence remained reasonably good, but a shortage of social housing meant too many men were released without stable accommodation; and
  • work at the category D resettlement unit, Britannia House, was notable, with excellent use of release on temporary licence (ROTL) and most men had secured employment when discharged.

 

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • there had been four self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection in 2013 and although support for those at risk of self-harm was generally good, there were some weaknesses in case management;
  • although the range of work, training and education opportunities had improved, and most prisoners had something worthwhile to do, there were still too many men locked up during the working day (30%); and
  • although offender management work was generally up to date, levels of contact between men and their supervisors were insufficient.

 

Peter Clarke said:
“Norwich had continued the forward momentum we noted at our previous inspection in 2013; a significant factor was strong and stable leadership by the governor and his team. It might not have been coincidental that unlike many other prisons we have visited in recent months, the senior team had been at the prison for some years. The leadership team had anticipated and managed many of the challenges, focused on the recommendations we made in 2013 and ensured that staff were kept well informed about their priorities. We were told during the inspection that both the governor and his deputy were to move on. This would clearly be a significant change for Norwich, but we left optimistic about the many changes that were now well embedded and the number of plans in place or being developed which would ensure progress was maintained.”

 

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

“I’m pleased the Inspector has recognised the positive approach of staff at Norwich which – despite challenges – has created a stable and progressive regime.

“Improving the care for those with mental health problems is key and the prison is already working with health care to ensure all prisoners receive the best possible care and support.

“The leadership team will continue to implement the report recommendations to make further improvements at the prison.”

 

A copy of the full report, published on 9 February, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP Hewell – Improvements But Serious Safety Concerns On Closed Site Say Inspectors

hewell

Safety needed to improve on the closed site of HMP Hewell but some notable progress had been made and the open site was generally good, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an announced inspection of the category B local prison and category D open prison in Worcestershire.

HMP Hewell is a complex establishment. Much of the prison is a relatively modern local facility holding over 1000 adult male prisoners and serving courts in the West Midlands. Linked to the main prison, about half a mile away, is an old country house which operates as an open prison holding 200 prisoners. The differences in the purpose and role of both sites led inspectors to assess each facility separately. On the open site, inspectors found a successful prison that, while needing some renovation, was safe and respectful with reasonably good work, training and education opportunities and did reasonably good work to resettle prisoners back into the community. On the closed site, Hewell continued to face many challenges and there were some areas of serious concern, including safety.

At the closed site, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • prisoners are particularly vulnerable on arrival, yet first night procedures were chaotic, staff were overwhelmed and prisoners felt unsafe;
  • the level of violence was far too high and although the prison had begun good work to help reduce it, much was not yet embedded;
  • levels of self-harm had increased, four prisoners had taken their own lives since the last inspection in 2014 and the prison had not yet sufficiently implemented recommendations from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman following investigations into these deaths;
  • conditions in the segregation unit were very poor, many cells around the prison were overcrowded and the inpatient facility in health care was very poor; and
  • the availability of drugs remained very high.

 

However, on the closed site, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • staff-prisoner relationships were reasonably good, and mitigated against some of the difficulties, though staff needed to be more robust in challenging poor behaviour;
  • although too many prisoners were locked in cell during the working day, most had access to some learning and work opportunities and there were enough to occupy all for at least part of the day;
  • learning and skills management was good and teaching much improved;
  • a restorative justice unit had developed where restorative and community principles were very constructively applied; and
  • services to help prisoners resettle back into the community on release were reasonably good, with some impressive joint working with the community rehabilitation company (CRC) and some very effective work on finding accommodation for prisoners and changing their offending behaviour.

 

On the open site, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • there were no safety concerns;
  • cleanliness had improved but the site was still in need of refurbishment and some toilets were in poor condition;
  • as on the closed site, teaching and learning for education and vocational training courses was good;
  • useful partnerships had been developed with training companies, helping prisoners to secure employment;
  • as on the closed site, the management of resettlement had improved and some aspects of offender management were very good;
  • a quarter of those on the open site worked out of the prison each day, after thorough risk assessments; and
  • some good work was being carried out with prisoners to reduce the risk of them reoffending.

 

Peter Clarke said:
“At the time of the inspection, the deputy governor was in temporary charge and the prison was awaiting the arrival of a new governor. But this uncertainty had not led to lack of leadership; the management team was focused, innovative and committed to tackling the prison’s problems. We found improvements in many areas and examples of good practice. Nevertheless, very big challenges – operationally, managerially and in terms of resources – were still to be addressed and outcomes for too many prisoners on the closed site were very poor.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 10 January 2017 at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP Onley – Safety Had Declined say Inspectors

 

Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 2.39.57 PMStandards had declined at HMP Onley and it had become an unsafe prison, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Friday 2nd December 2016 he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the category C prison near Rugby.

HMP Onley held around 740 prisoners at the time of its inspection. Since its previous inspection in 2012, it had been designated as a resettlement prison for Greater London, which had had a significant impact on the prison in terms of the changed nature of its population. This more recent inspection found that there had been a dramatic decline in standards since 2012, particularly in safety, where outcomes for prisoners were now poor, having been judged good in 2012. The number of assaults had nearly tripled and was far higher than at similar prisons. Despite the rise in violence, not enough had been done to analyse the root causes.

Inspectors were also concerned to find that:

  • there was no comprehensive violence reduction or drug reduction strategy;
  • the existing drug reduction strategy did not specifically address the problem of new psychoactive substances (NPS), which were having a significant impact in the prison;
  • a massive backlog of security-related information reports undermined a proactive approach to violence;
  • staff shortages had contributed to a restricted regime, which had a direct impact on the ability of prisoners to attend activities, learning and training;
  • offender supervisors were often moved to other duties and therefore had limited contact with prisoners; and
  • most prisoners did not have an up-to-date risk assessment (OASys), although that was largely a problem with London prisons transferring in prisoners without the assessments having been completed.

 

However, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • staff-prisoner relationships were reasonably good, as were health services;
  • the range and quality of education and training opportunities at the prison were good; and
  • support for prisoners to resettle back into the community was mostly good, especially the good advice and assistance provided to address family relationships.

 

Peter Clarke said:
“The challenge for the management team at Onley is to find ways to halt the decline, and there are clear lessons to be learned from what the inspection revealed about the reactive approach that had been taken to too many issues. There was a clear need for the leadership of the prison to get a grip of the problems facing them and move away from merely reacting to events. Of course staff shortages have had an impact on many areas of service delivery, but they did not offer an excuse for a decline in standards of the severity that we found. There was actually much good work being done at Onley.”

Michael Spurr, CEO of the National Offender Management Service, said:

“As the Chief Inspector points out, there is much good work being done at Onley but the deterioration in safety is unacceptable and reversing this is the Governor’s top priority.

“Additional staff are being recruited to meet the commitments set out in the Prison Safety and Reform White Paper and the Governor will use these additional resources to drive forward the improvements required.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 2 December 2016 at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP & Yoi Foston Hall: woman’s prison with some strengths but improvements needed

IMG_0065Foston Hall was a reasonably safe and decent prison with some good rehabilitative work, but further improvements need to be made, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the women’s prison in Derbyshire.

HMP & YOI Foston Hall is a local and resettlement prison. Like most other women’s local prisons, it holds a complicated mix of women, from those recently remanded in custody to those with lengthy sentences. Levels of need in the population were very high. Nearly half of new arrivals said they had problems feeling depressed or suicidal or had mental health problems. Many reported problems with drugs or alcohol. Over half the women had children under the age of 18 and for a similar number it was their first time in prison. When it was last inspected in 2014, inspectors assessed outcomes in safety, respect and resettlement as reasonably good but considered that work, training and education was insufficiently good. This more recent inspection was mixed – there were some obvious strengths but a few areas of significant weakness.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

· the prison was basically safe and security arrangements were appropriate;

· concerns regarding illegal drugs were being addressed;

· good care was provided to the many women at risk of self-harming and a sensible approach was adopted to managing those with complex needs;

· relationships between women and staff were strong and founded on mutual respect;

· the living accommodation was mixed, but clean and decent;

· health care was starting to deliver reasonably good support in some areas; and

· there was some good work to support higher risk women through the release process, although release on temporary licence (ROTL) was not used to support this work.
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

· some aspects of early days support needed to be improved, particularly as this was when women were at their most vulnerable;

· there had been four self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection in 2014, although the prison had taken robust action to address most of the concerns resulting from these deaths;

· there were delays in prescribed medications and limited administration slots at weekends and on bank holidays, meaning some medicines were not given to women at the right time;

· a third of women were locked up during the day and there were still insufficient activity places for all the women to be purposefully occupied; and

· although the community rehabilitation company was delivering pockets of good work, it was not yet fully integrated into the prison or delivering consistently good outcomes.
Peter Clarke said:
“Foston Hall remained a reasonably safe and respectful prison, and we found some excellent work being done to manage and support progression for the highly complex mix of women. Managers and staff were focused on improving the weaker aspects of the prison’s work, and we asked them to focus particularly on early days’ support, the management of medicines and developing the purposefulness of the regime. The prison’s senior team was going through a period of instability but we hoped this would be resolved speedily to ensure continuity in building on the obvious strengths of the institution, and addressing some of the significant challenges ahead.”

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

“I’m pleased that the Chief Inspector found Foston Hall to be a reasonably safe and respectful prison. This reflects the hard work of staff to support women with complex needs, offering them opportunities to progress and turn their lives around.

“The majority of women at Foston Hall have a good regime with access to education and vocational training, but there is more to do. Since the inspection more work places have been created and the Governor is determined to use the recommendations in this report to further improve the prison.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 21 October 2016 at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP Swaleside: A Dangerous Prison

swalesideHMP Swaleside was a dangerous prison, but there were signs it was starting to stabilise, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.

HMP Swaleside held just over 1,100 adult men, all serving long or indeterminate sentences. At its last inspection in Spring 2014, significant staffing shortages were having a negative impact and safety, education, work, training, and resettlement were not sufficiently good. At this more recent inspection, outcomes had further deteriorated, with safety being of particular concern. Swaleside had been struggling for some time and the population had become more challenging, with a much higher proportion of category B prisoners, often relatively young men early in their sentence. Many staff had become demotivated and overwhelmed and many were temporary or inexperienced. There had been four governors in the past five years.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • levels of violence were too high and many incidents were serious – 69% of prisoners surveyed said they had felt unsafe at some time;
  • the use of force was high and the documentation associated with its use and justification was totally inadequate;
  • 52% of prisoners surveyed said it was easy to get drugs at the prison, 45% said the same about alcohol, and the diversion of prescribed medication was worrying;
  • the segregation unit was filthy and poor in all respects;
  • there was a shortfall of some 200 available work, training or education places to enable prisoners to be fully occupied; and
  • much offender management work was inadequate in supporting men to reduce the risk they posed.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • men valued being in single cells, and they had the opportunity to cook their own food in wing kitchens;
  • there were credible and funded plans in place to improve the range and quality of work available at the prison and an innovative approach to supporting men involved in distance learning;
  • some good work had been done to develop support in maintaining contact with families and friends;
  • the prison continued to offer an appropriate range of offending behaviour programmes; and
  • the psychologically informed planned environment (PIPE) offered an excellent approach to treating prisoners with very challenging behaviour and personality disorders.

Peter Clarke said:

“Despite the fact that by any standards this is a poor report about a dangerous prison, we left Swaleside with some optimism that the prison had started to stabilise. The new governor appeared to have a very clear understanding of the challenges he and his team faced. He had re-energised his senior management team, and his approach was one of visible and energetic leadership. The very early signs, at the time of the inspection, were that his determination to grip difficult issues had been welcomed by many prisoners and staff alike, who told us they wanted to see the prison improve. The challenge will be to build and maintain this early momentum and embed the changes needed.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 26 July 2016 at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP/YOI Moorland – New Psychoactive Substances Threat Level Raised To ‘Severe’

moorland_prisonThe availability of new psychoactive substances was threatening to undermine recent progress at Moorland, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the South Yorkshire resettlement prison.

HMP/YOI Moorland holds around 1,000 prisoners, of whom around 250 are foreign national offenders and 340 are sex offenders. The prison is in the process of adapting to its new role as a resettlement prison for the area. The recent history of the prison has been one of uncertainty and disruption and at one point the prison had been earmarked for privatisation.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • the threat posed to the stability of the prison by new psychoactive substances (NPS) is severe and despite some positive initiatives, the situation appears to be deteriorating and needs to be addressed;
  • forty-eight per cent of prisoners now say it is easy to get drugs at Moorland compared to 28% at the last inspection;
  • the number of violent incidents, fights and assaults had increased since the last inspection in 2012 and levels were also higher than at similar prisons;
  • almost one in five prisoners surveyed said they felt unsafe at the time of the inspection;
  • staff often struggled with the many demands made of them and, while most contacts with prisoners were polite, they were also mostly brief and often superficial;
  • work on diversity continued to be weak and had been undermined by chronic understaffing in the area; and
  • the overall strategic approach to resettlement lacked focus and too much of the work of the offender management unit was process-driven.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • care for prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm was generally good;
  • there had been substantial improvements in the management and availability of work, training and education, with places for 87% of the population; and
  • the prison had successfully introduced a sex offender treatment programme in response to being re-roled as a national resource for holding sex offenders.

 

Peter Clarke said:

“There are real opportunities at Moorland to make progress, but the issues of NPS and inefficiencies in routine transactions that have such a negative impact on prisoners’ experiences need to be addressed. In particular, there is a real opportunity to make progress in embracing the prison’s new role as a resettlement prison, and in delivering treatment programmes for sex offenders. We saw evidence that many staff wanted to build constructive relationships with prisoners and to address the challenges facing Moorland. It will be the task of a focused and visible leadership team to inspire the staff to grasp the opportunities provided by the new roles that Moorland has assumed.”

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

“I am pleased that the inspector has highlighted the real progress being made at Moorland in purposeful activity as well as successfully introducing and managing sex offenders. The prison is currently going through a challenging time of transitioning to its new role as a resettlement prison and is working to ensure prisoners are prepared for release.

“We are not complacent about safety and there is clearly more work to do to address levels of violence and tackle increasing availability of NPS at the prison. The Governor and staff have put measures in place to reduce the rise in drugs and I am confident the team will continue to build on the firm foundations in place to take this work forward.

Read the report – copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 10 June 2016 at: justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMYOI Parc Juvenile Unit – Much good work with children, but some safety concern

parc

There was much to commend at Parc, but they needed to understand why safety had declined and act upon it, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an announced inspection of the young people’s unit at the local prison in South Wales. [previous report]

Parc juvenile unit is a distinct and generally well separated part of the much larger prison, HMP/YOI Parc near Bridgend. The unit can accommodate 64 children, though 38 were there at the time of inspection. Its catchment area encompasses south and mid-Wales and much of south-west England. When it was last inspected in May 2014, inspectors found that young people were well cared for and experienced positive outcomes. During this more recent inspection, outcomes in the important areas of ‘safety’ and ‘respect’ had declined from ‘good’ to ‘reasonably good’. Reception, safeguarding and child protection arrangements remained effective.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • 42% of children reported being victimised by staff, which had more than doubled from the 20% in May 2014;
  • only 55% of boys felt they were treated with respect by staff;
  • the use of force had tripled since the previous inspection, mostly in response to violent incidents; and
  • almost a quarter of the boys reported having been assaulted by other boys at Parc.

Some of this level of violence was ascribed by staff to the destabilising effect of two particularly difficult children transferred into Parc during the autumn of 2015. If that was the case, managers need to be sure they have plans in place to stop it happening again.

The leadership were committed to providing a safe and decent environment for children and there were many instances of good work, including:

  • boys accessed significantly more time out of their cell than at other young offender institutions, with regular association and exercise periods; and
  • segregation was rarely used, despite challenging behaviour.

Peter Clarke said:

“Despite all the positive things that were happening at Parc, there can be no room for complacency, as the judgements in the areas of ‘safety’ and ‘respect’ have declined since the last inspection. I am sure the leadership at Parc will give this their full attention, and strive to return the establishment to its previous high performance in these key areas.”

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

“As the report notes, there is some very positive work being undertaken with young people in Parc with a high level of purposeful activity and good education and resettlement provision. The number of young people in custody has continued to fall but the challenges presented by those who remain, particularly in terms of violence, are considerable. The Director and her team are committed to providing a safe and positive environment for young people in their care and will use the findings from this report to address areas of concern to achieve improvement.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons