The Independent Monitoring Board at Huntercombe has published its report into the prison covering the period January to December 2017.
In its report the Board:
- Commends the prison for its fair and humane treatment of prisoner in the establishment
- Acknowledges the efforts made from within existing budgets to improve resettlement support for prisoners
- Reports that there were no death-in-custody incidents in the reporting year.
However, the IMB is concerned at the continued lack of national resettlement support for FNOs (Foreign National Offenders). The Board raised this matter in its 2016 report. At a local level, HMP Huntercombe responded positively and increased support from within its existing budge. However, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has not increased the overall annual budget for this area to be properly resourced, neither has it levelled the field in terms of treating FNOs equally with UK national prisoners in relation to the provision of resettlement support and preparation for release from prison.
The Board is concerned with the organisation and management of prisoner property. Many complaints relate to property mislaid or lost when a prisoner is transferred to Huntercombe from another prison. The situation is aggravated by differences between state-run and privately-run prisons in the amount of property a prisoner is allowed to have. This is a national problem but is particularly pertinent to prisoners in Huntercombe, the majority of who will be deported at the completion of their sentence.
The Board highlights the kitchen as being in poor condition and inadequate for catering for 480 prisoners; when the kitchen was installed the prison population was around 240 – half the current level.
John Evans, Chairman of the IMB at Huntercombe said:
‘Overall the Board is content that the prison is well-run and that prisoners are treated fairly and humanely within the prison. Huntercombe does not experience high levels of violence and disorderly conduct that are reported in the press concerning other prisons.
However, in drawing up the current report the Board noted that recommendations to the Prison Service and ministers contained in previous reports concerning resettlement and release have not been addressed.’
Read the report in full here.