HMP Leicester is a well-run establishment with an energetic and forward thinking Governor and an engaged body of staff who are concerned for prisoner welfare and progress towards successful rehabilitation. This is the conclusion of the Independent Monitoring Board whose annual report for 2019/20 was published today.
The Board reports that prisoners are treated fairly and with respect. During 2019, there was a predictable and consistently delivered regime with enough places for purposeful activity for all. Prisoner consultation and communication was excellent, and the very good supportive and constructive interactions between staff and prisoners remain a strength of the establishment.
During 2019 the prison held some very challenging prisoners and levels of self-harming and violent behaviour increased, compared with 2018, but they were well managed and the prison felt safe. The availability and use of illicit substances continued to fall, and the Board details the work by the security department to achieve this.
Healthcare coped well with the large burden of mental illness among the prisoner population, but the Board again had to report that two severely ill and segregated prisoners suffered a long wait before a bed in a secure mental hospital became available.
The report highlights the good links that the establishment has made with community partners in the resettlement services and the Board also commends the programme of cultural enrichment activities, involving local organisations and members of the wider general public, which contributed effectively to prisoner well-being.
Again the Board raises its concerns about the performance of the contractor Amey. The delivery of the education contract by PeoplePlus was also poor during 2019, although remedial actions were in place by the end of the year.
In its last report, the Board highlighted the serious dilapidations in the building and urged the Prisons Minister to provide capital investment, so that the living accommodation could be brought up to a decent standard and more space be made available for prisoner purposeful activity.
The Chair, Irene Peat, said ‘We were delighted to hear that funding has been agreed for replacement of roofs, refurbishments, upgrading of the heating system and completion of the fire safety project, together with extra security in reception. In our current report we have asked the Minister for reassurance that these capital investments will still go ahead in 2020’