East Sutton Park continues to be a successful and effective prison, despite budget constraints and continued threat of closure, says the Independent Monitoring Board at East Sutton Park open prison for women, as their latest Annual Report is published.
The Board highlights the achievements of the establishment which has just 100 places for women and young offenders who are coming towards the end of their sentences.
- The excellent Personal Officer scheme has greatly contributed to the welfare of the women and has proved very effective in substantially reducing re-offending rates. With a named officer being responsible for only eight prisoners, the women receive individual attention in dealing with their problems and addressing their offending behaviour. Many women prisoners suffer from very low self esteem and the encouragement and positive attitude of staff has been highly effective in giving them the confidence to make a fresh start in their lives.
- Women prisoners make up around 6% of the total prison population but account for half of the self harm figures. In this small community people look out for each other and incidents of self harm amongst prisoners at East Sutton Park has been minimal, largely because of the support they have received from staff and from the other women.
- Having somewhere to live on release from prison is an important factor in reducing re-offending rates and the prisoner led team ‘Vision’ continued to offer their peers a high standard of individual service in dealing with housing issues.
- East Sutton Park’s farm and gardens has proved to be a valuable resource. It provides revenue from the Farm Shop and Farmers Markets in the Maidstone area. The therapeutic value of working with animals is beyond price, particularly for women who come from violent and abusive backgrounds.
- Read East Sutton Park’s annual report in full