IMB Warren Hill praises pioneering work of small prison

The IMB at HMP Warren Hill report that the establishment is providing well for long-term prisoners who have been stuck in the system.  They say that this success is the result of the small size of the prison, with under 250 prisoners enabling a sense of community, combined with imaginative leadership and dedicated staff.  Prisoners often tell the IMB that Warren Hill is a lot safer and helps them better towards rehabilitation than the more mainstream prisons from which they have transferred.


Warren Hill provides a therapeutic community and a pioneering progression regime for men on life or indeterminate sentences, many of the latter being still in prison several years after their minimum sentence.  These men are only released into the community once they have demonstrated to the Parole Board their increased sense of responsibility and reduced risk to the public. During the year about 70% of those from Warren Hill attending a parole hearing had a favourable outcome.   But the monitors comment that the pressure of paperwork reduces the opportunities for face-to-face work with prisoners and that more staff are needed if the potential of the innovative approach is to be fulfilled.


Following a disappointing report last year, the IMB says that the education provision has greatly improved under the new contractor. There are continuing problems with the quality and quantity of the food supplied by the nearby prison at Hollesley Bay.   They report that making the prison responsible for its own food would give it the power to solve many of the issues currently arising and provide opportunities for prisoners to develop employable skills.


The Chair of the Monitoring Board, Colin Reid, says,

“Warren Hill is helped by its small size, clear sense of purpose and the very good relationship between staff and prisoners. The positive culture and the key worker system enable many men to make progress and to feel more hopeful about themselves.  Nevertheless the policy imposed on the prison of not allowing the Governor any discretion to release men on temporary licence does restrict its ability to prepare them in a step-by-step way for discharge into the community, often after many years behind bars.”


Read the report in full here.