Usk and Prescoed prisons get good report
5:11pm Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
GWENT’S open and training prisons continue to deliver “useful outcomes” for prisoners, the latest inspection report says.
The comments come after the government's chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, made an unannounced visit to HMP Usk and HMP Prescoed prisons in Monmouthshire.
Though managed as a single entity the two are separate facilities serving different purposes.
Usk is a category C training prison holding mostly convicted sex offenders, while Prescoed, two miles away, is an open prison holding category D prisoners, including a small number of young adults.
The latest inspection found the two are very successful institutions, with Prescoed awarded inspectors’ highest assessment against all four tests of a healthy prison.
This looks at safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement. Outcomes at Usk were similarly impressive although some improvements could be made, the report said.
Inspectors found both prisons are commendably safe, and levels of violence, bullying and self-harm are very low.
Disciplinary procedures are used sparingly and both prisons operate without the need for segregation units.
Inspectors observed very good staff-prisoner relationships at both prisons, but a survey of prisoners indicated a decline in detainees’ perceptions of the quality of their relationships with staff.
Both prisons have active regimes, learning and skills are well managed and there is enough activity to ensure all prisoners had something meaningful to do.
Well over half the population are engaged in active learning and success rates across learning and skills were good.
At Prescoed there is a clear and effective focus on moving prisoners towards work through temporary release in the community.
But inspectors were concerned to find prisoners had limited confidence in the way complaints were dealt with and the perceptions of minority groups were more negative than those of the population as a whole.
Offender supervision at Usk was reactive and limited, supervision for case managers was very limited and there were issues with the quality of the food, the report said.
Mr Hardwick said Usk and Prescoed are two "very successful prisons" which continue to deliver useful outcomes.
He added: “An important message from this inspection, however, would be to ensure that there is no drift towards complacency, particularly at Usk. A priority would be to sharpen up offender management at Usk but also to ensure no further drift in the quality of relationships and the provision of some basic services, such as food and the management of complaints.”
Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said staff would continue to work on the recommendations of the report.