The Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Belmarsh has published its Annual Report for the period 1st July 2015 to 30th June 2016.
Overall Belmarsh is a very well-run prison and although there are increasing levels of violence across the entire prison estate, the Board considers that this is well managed under the prison’s Violence Reduction programme.
The Board has three major concerns at Belmarsh set out below.
It is considered that the prison is not adequately staffed, resulting in frequent changes to the prison regime and the amount of time offered to prisoners for association, phone calls, showers and attendance to activities. Staff morale is a growing concern following the gradual erosion of remuneration and benefits impacting on staff shortages in virtually all areas of the prison.
Many prisoners continue to be held in triple-occupancy cells, originally designed for two people. This is not considered decent given the resulting overcrowding issues.
Attendance to work and education is unacceptably low and provision and quality of these activities is poor. Prisoners are therefore not given adequate preparation for release towards the end of their sentences.