The chief inspector of prisons has called the response of prison managers ‘not good enough’ following a rise in violence at HMP Isle of Wight.
Levels of violence and self-harm were up in the latest prison inspection, which reported 65 assaults on staff and 656 incidences of self-harm.
Little support for victims
Peter Clarke, HM chief inspector of prisons, said there was little support for victims of violence, even though relationships between staff and prisoners were good.
“We found prisoners had very poor perceptions of safety. In our survey, more than half said they had felt unsafe during their time at HMP Isle of Wight and nearly a quarter felt unsafe at the time of the inspection.
“While violence was still not widespread, it had risen significantly since the previous inspection and the response of managers was not good enough, leading to inconsistent challenge of perpetrators and little support for victims.”
Better operational grip on safety needed
He went on to say,
“HMP Isle of Wight is a respectful place where good relationships between frontline staff and prisoners result in many positive outcomes. However, there needs to be a better operational grip on safety.
“Managers need to address the weaknesses in offender management to ensure the prison fulfils its purpose of reducing the risks these long-term prisoners pose, both within the prison and, importantly, when they are eventually released.”
Since the prison’s last inspection in 2015, the assessment of respect had slipped from good to reasonably good, and safety fell from reasonably good to not sufficiently good.
Recognise more work needed to make prison safer
Phil Copple, director general of prisons at HM Prison and Probation Service, said:
“The high-quality education and training at HMP Isle of Wight are vital for helping offenders lead a productive, law abiding life on release, but we recognise that more work is needed to make the prison safer.
“The Governor and his staff are working hard to bring down levels of violence and self-harm, and the excellent relationships between prisoners and staff will be important in doing this.
“Every prisoner now has a dedicated officer giving them personal support and, combined with working closer with probation and local authorities, we expect to see an improvement in arrangements to prepare prisoners for release.”
The report also said rehabilitation and release planning was not sufficiently good.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed