In its annual report for 1 June 2019 to 31 May 2020, the Wormwood Scrubs IMB notes the improvements in physical conditions for some men and the strong initiatives to make the prison safe. A well devised and implemented COVID-19 regime was put in place in March to protect all living and working within the prison.
There have been a number of positives in the prison this year.
Initiatives to make the prison a safer place have included the use of a scanner to reduce the flow of contraband into the prison and improvements in the documentation relating to vulnerable prisoners.
There are encouraging signs in the reduction of self harm, even with the impact of COVID-19. There was a large increase in April/May in men seeking help by calling the Samaritans and the prison Listeners- recently installed in cell telephony may account for some of the increase.
The physical environment for some prisoners has improved greatly- the refurbishment of C Wing (the beginning of a rolling programme) being carried out by a workforce made up in part of prisoners.
There remain however a number of areas, highlighted by the Board last year, which remain with little or no progress:
- Too many hospital appointments missed by prisoners, who are not taken to them
- Body Worn Cameras not being worn /used regularly by staff
- Escort chains still being used when transferring very sick/elderly prisoners to hospital
- The Key Worker scheme again not fully implemented
IMB Wormwood Scrubs Chair, Tanya Ossack, said:
“ The final quarter of the year which this report covers , has of course been dominated in the prison by COVID-19. Whilst acknowledging the dedicated work done by the prison to protect prisoners from the virus, we are all aware of the impact that this has had on the prisoners- many hours being locked in their cells/no social visits and for many no work or education. We welcome the improvements which there have been over the year, but also hope that the COVID regime does not become the “norm” .”