Inspectors’ mixed report for prison

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NEWS: News.
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A DONCASTER open prison due to be privatised has received a mixed report in its latest visit from inspectors.

They found HMP and YOI Hatfield was a ‘reasonably good prison, but some aspects were disappointing’, according to the report published today by Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons.

At the time of the announced inspection, the prisons were involved in a market competition programme with three firms bidding to take them into the private sector.

Inspectors said they were pleased to find that:

n The prison was safe with few violent incidents, and self-harm was very rare;

n The provision and quality of work and activity was very good and was well coordinated with resettlement work;

n Around half the prison’s population undertook voluntary work, paid employment or learning in the community;

n Sentence management arrangements, and provision under the resettlement pathways to help prisoners as they prepared for release, were all in place and had improved.

But the inspectors expressed concern that:

n Although the prison was safe, more prisoners than expected reported feeling unsafe or victimised;

n Staff-prisoner relationships were mixed and disappointing;

n Prisoners had little confidence in the processes to deal with their legitimate concerns or grievances.

Mr Hardwick said: “Hatfield is a good prison that could be even better. It was striking that, despite what it had to offer and the fact that prisoners were actively and positively engaged, in our survey only a fifth of prisoners felt supported in preparing for release.”

Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: “A competitive market testing process causes significant disruption and upheaval, so it is to the credit of the Governor and her staff the good work at Hatfield has been highlighted during this time.”