Peterborough Prison has 'improved'

Peterborough's Prison has 'improved' according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

HMP Peterborough holds male and female prisoners separately.

For the male prison inspectors found:

·        the prison offered a generally safe environment, and measures to support prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm were very good;

·        work to reduce both the supply of and demand for drugs was given appropriate priority;

·        staff-prisoner relationships had much improved with a more developed personal officer scheme;

·        time out of cell and the number of activity places were better than in most local prisons.

However, inspectors had some concerns:

·        relatively high numbers of men said they felt unsafe, suggesting a need to develop further effective violence reduction and anti-bullying strategies;

·        an unsuitable mix of prisoners on the first night and induction wing meant vulnerable prisoners spent too much time locked up;

·        although health care was generally good, there were problems with the appointment system, leading to a high rate of non-attendance;

·        there was still not enough activity to keep everyone occupied and, while the work training and education on offer was good, the range of qualification obtainable was limited; and

·        there was little resettlement planning to meet the needs of men not included in the pilot, such as the significant proportion of unconvicted prisoners.

Nick Hardwick said, Chief Inspector of Prisons said:

“Overall, it is clear that Peterborough men’s prison is an improving institution that has made commendable progress. The good environment and staff-prisoner relationships create the necessary foundation for further development.

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

“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has found that Peterborough men’s prison has improved in a number of areas since the last inspection.

“I am confident that the Director and staff will work to address concerns raised over violence reduction, first night procedures, and purposeful activity to build upon the progress made so far.

“This will reduce the likelihood of reoffending and thereby protect the public."

For the women's prison inspectors found:

·        some very supportive procedures for those at risk of self-harm and suicide;

·        some excellent interventions for women with drug and alcohol problems;

·        the prison was developing new ways of tackling anti-social behaviour with greater attention given to dealing with its underlying causes;

·        the segregation unit was decent and professionally run;

·        staff-prisoner relationships had much improved and were mostly very good; and

·        time out of cell and the number of activity places were better than in most local prisons.

However, inspectors had some concerns:

·        the regime, interventions and services were not sufficiently tailored to the specific needs of the wide range of women held by the prison, with, for example, no provision for young adult women with alcohol problems;

·        there were too many male officers;

·        although health care was generally good, there were problems with the appointments system and women did not have the option of seeing a female GP; and

·        the learning and skills strategy was too generic, covered both male and female prisoners and was insufficiently focused on the needs of young women and those serving indeterminate sentences.

Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons said:

“Most women at Peterborough are held safely and decently. Many benefit from a range of effective interventions to help them resettle successfully when they leave the prison and reduce the risk of reoffending. However, there was still too little differentiation of a regime and provision for young adult women and lifers.”

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

"The Chief Inspector has highlighted the good progress made at Peterborough women’s prison despite the challenges of a varied and vulnerable population.

  “I am pleased that the prison’s work on preventing self-harm, tackling anti-social behaviour and on drug and alcohol interventions has been praised in this report. The Director and staff will now work to better tailor interventions to prisoners, to improve the health care appointments system and to focus the prison’s learning and skills strategy.

  "NOMS is committed to diverting women away from crime, and the work undertaken at prisons like Peterborough demonstrates that a range of effective interventions assists their successful resettlement when they leave the prison, helping prevent reoffending.”

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