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Full Sutton Prison Continues To Improve - Says Report


7:43am 11th April 2013

HMP Full Sutton dealt very effectively with challenges other prisons find difficult to manage, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an announced inspection of the high security prison near York and Pocklington.

HMP Full Sutton holds around 600 of the country’s most serious offenders according to the report which also states that it is generally an impressive establishment that maintains an effective balance between providing the necessary levels of security and affording the men it holds decent treatment and conditions. Recent inspections have reported positively on the prison and, although some concerns remain, this inspection found it had improved further. Levels of violence were low, drug use was low and there was a range of good quality, well-managed purposeful activity available, according to the report.

Inspectors found that:

  • good security processes, effective behaviour management and generally positive relationships between staff and prisoners made for a safe environment;
  • intimidation and bullying by prisoners convicted of gang and terrorist-related activities was identified and dealt with;
  • there was effective action to keep the supply of illegal drugs to a very low level and rigorous management of prescribed medicines that could be misused;
  • prisoners spoke highly of the help they had received at an innovative abstinence-based recovery centre;
  • the prison made effective use of its resources to ensure almost all prisoners were engaged in work, education or training;
  • as far as possible, prison industries reflected a realistic working environment; and
  • practical resettlement arrangements, such as help with accommodation and maintaining links with family, were well organised.

However, inspectors had some concerns:

  • the perceptions of black and minority ethnic and Muslim prisoners about their treatment and conditions were much more negative than for white and non-Muslim prisoners. Inspectors did not find evidence to explain the strength of these perceptions and the prison had worked to try to understand these concerns, but more communication with these groups was required;
  • the segregation unit, though improved, still offered a very limited regime for those held there for long periods and there was insufficient focus on improving behaviour and helping men reintegrate back on the main wings; and
  • almost a quarter of men who self-harmed were place in strip clothing in gated cells in health care, and inspectors found little evidence to support the need for such measures.

Nick Hardwick said:

“HMP Full Sutton is already a good prison and it is continuing to improve. The foundations of a generally safe environment in which prisoners are treated as decently as the necessary constraints allow appear to be increasingly embedded. Some significant new developments in important areas of the prison are still at an early stage and create the potential for further improvement. These improvements still need to reach some of those with the highest level of need, and be seen to leave no part of the prison population behind.”

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

"This is a positive report. Full Sutton holds some of the most complex prisoners who present a unique set of challenges and it is to the credit of the Governor and his staff that they have continued to make real progress while at the same time managing the demands inherent in the high security estate.

"The prison will continue to build on the improvements that have already been made and work to address concerns raised in the report particularly around the segregation unit and communication with minority ethnic and Muslim prisoners."

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