IMB welcomes improvements at HMP Hewell during a challenging time

HMP Hewell is an improving prison that has coped well with the challenges of the pandemic and faces the future with a significant degree of optimism and potential. The prison is safer and more secure than in previous years and the pandemic has been handled effectively and compassionately. This progress is against the backdrop of the introduction of an ambitious programme of cultural change to move the prison forward.

Nevertheless, HMP Hewell is still constrained by serious systemic challenges within the prison service as a whole and by practical and physical limitations that negatively impact the running of the prison.

In its annual report, the HMP Hewell IMB notes:

  • The prison has made real progress in becoming safer, cleaner, smarter and more comfortable.
  • There are early signs of an increased sense of community within the prison.
  • Progress has been made to adopting a more holistic approach to the care of the men at Hewell with a particular focus on their early days in custody.

However, the Board is frustrated to have to report, yet again, on the inhumanity of the prolonged custody of men serving indeterminate (IPP) sentences, the inadequacy of provision within the prison system for the most unwell and vulnerable individuals and the still unacceptable accommodation for prisoners with disabilities. The Board stresses that the momentum of recent progress needs to be maintained in the coming months otherwise the hard work will have been wasted and an opportunity missed.

IMB Chair, Rodger Lawrence, said:

“The Board recognises the improvements since its last report to provide a service fit for the 21st century. Improvements in safety and cleanliness are impressive. We welcome the refurbishment programme, but we remain concerned at the poor facilities for people with disabilities. And yet again the Board has had to draw the Minister’s attention to the inhumanity of the IPP sentence on prisoners who are still in prison, long after the minimum period set by of the court.”