Prison monitors praise HMP Cardiff for protecting prisoners during COVID, but at a cost

 

In its annual report, published both in English and Welsh covering the year September 2019 to August 2020, Independent Monitors praised the managers and staff of HMP Cardiff for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Despite all of the challenges posed by COVID, the prison has managed to keep infections at a low level and to provide a fair and decent regime” commented the board chairperson, Jaci Rankmore.

  • All prisoners received regular meals and one and a half hours out of cell each day in order to phone their family, take a shower and have exercise.
  • The report also complimented the prison on low levels of violence, which monitors believed reflected the good relations built up by staff with prisoners.
  • The Board acknowledged that the prison had managed to keep 200 prisoners in work, in such things as cleaning, the kitchen and laundry.

The IMB note the following concerns:

  • While praised by HMIP in 2019 for its education and activities programme, all face to face education has ended,
  • Many other aspects of the prison’s work to ensure prisoner’s wellbeing and to reduce their offending has ended or been curtailed.
  •  The Board have a major concern for the large number of prisoners with pre-existing mental health issues. Self-harm continued to be a major concern, with a continued increase. In the first six months of the reporting year incidents of self-harm had increased from 301 to 449 over the same period in 2018-2019.  These figures, together with four prisoner deaths in the year, led the Board to have concerns about this issue.