HMP Haverigg – Improvements but more to do

haveriggHMP Haverigg had a troubled past but was making improvements, and providing good work, training and education for prisoners, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison in Cumbria.

HMP Haverigg, when last inspected in 2014, was holding around 650 men. At this more recent inspection, that number had more than halved. A police operation had been launched in 2016 to investigate two deaths in custody and a serious assault alleged to have taken place in the old billet accommodation. Inspectors had criticised the safety of these facilities in the past. As a consequence of these events, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) closed these units because the safety of prisoners living there could not be assured. The police investigation had not concluded. Managers and staff were therefore operating against the backdrop of a significant police investigation. The governor had retained most of the resources allocated for the larger population and was managing the remaining four units. He had made some notable improvements.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • every new prisoner was now seen on reception by a member of the mental health team, and prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm were well cared for;
  • levels of violence had reduced since the decommissioning of the billet accommodation and were lower than at other similar prisons, but still too high;
  • very few prisoners were isolating themselves and almost all of those spoken to during the inspection said that Haverigg was now a safer and more decent prison;
  • security was proportionate and rather than curtailing the regime and locking men up to keep them apart, the prison was managing risk;
  • Ofsted endorsed the governor for prioritising education and work as routes to rehabilitation, and the prison offered a range of quality full-time activity places for every prisoner;
  • there was a clear focus on getting people out of their cells and into work, education and training; and
  • there was a more strategic approach to managing resettlement.

Inspectors were, however, concerned to find that:

  • more needed to be done to manage the perpetrators of violence and support victims;
  • the long, rural and therefore vulnerable perimeter added to the problems of drugs at the jail;
  • little had been done to address the living conditions on the units which, apart from one, were shabby and dirty; and
  • although health services were good, a rigid application of a zero tolerance policy in dealing with challenging prisoners increased the risk of prisoners being deprived of the health care they needed.

Peter Clarke said:

“Haverigg has had a troubled past and there was still much to do at the establishment. That said, we recognise the efforts made by the governor and his team not to let that troubled past define the prison’s future. Haverigg’s real strength lies in its relationships, from the governor’s positive relationships with partners and staff associations to those between staff of all disciplines and the prisoners in their care. We left the establishment feeling confident that, with continued support from HMPPS, the team at Haverigg will embrace the recommendations made in this report and improvements will continue.”

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

“As a result of concerns about safety at Haverigg we took the decision to close some of the old accommodation and reduce the population.

“This has allowed the governor to improve conditions for prisoners at Haverigg and I’m pleased that these improvements have been acknowledged by the inspectorate.

“The police investigation has now been concluded and the Governor will use the recommendations in the report to achieve further improvements at Haverigg.”

A copy of the full report, published on 16 August 2017, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: