HMP/YOI Norwich: Complex prisoner needs and overstretched staff an increasing conundrum say independent monitors

Overstretched staff strive daily to keep prisoners safe in decent surroundings

Many men requiring help are insufficiently supported as a consequence of deficits in services provided within the community, which can unfairly result in those with complex needs and mental illness ending up in prison.

And the sheer number of prisoners needing professional help forces the underfunded and undermanned prison agencies to prioritise the most severe cases.

Those are the key findings in the annual report of the Independent Monitoring Board for HMP/YOI Norwich published today (Friday 5 July).

The Board – made up of volunteers appointed by Ministers to ensure prisoners are treated humanely – also concluded that staff respond swiftly and professionally to the regular violent incidents fuelled by bullying, drugs, debt and gang related issues, but too often officers themselves are threatened and attacked.

Despite recent recruitment campaigns, the unrelentingly inadequate staffing levels, coupled with some sub-standard accommodation and poor administration of the basic  essentials, undermine the prison’s ability to maintain the fair and equal treatment of all prisoners.