Staff shortages and restricted regime at HMP Woodhill remain of grave concern to IMB

The Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Woodhill is saddened that serious concerns over staff shortages and restricted regimes highlighted in the reports of 2014 and 2015, worsened in 2016/17, continued and deepened during this reporting year. All grades of staff and all areas of the prison were affected.


In its annual report, the HMP Woodhill IMB notes that

  • The prison again functioned for the entire reporting period with restricted regimes in place.
  • The prison had to contend with the total failure of the Works contract before and after Carillion went into administration.
  • The levels of assaults, violence and use of force remained too high despite improvements in management and oversight.


The end of the reporting period saw the first indications of better staffing numbers and some improvements to the regime. However, regime delivery remained critically sensitive to pressures such as court escorts and bed watches.


The Chair of the IMB at HMP Woodhill said:

‘Throughout the year there was uncertainty about the future role of Woodhill, with a possible change from a core local prison to one holding long sentenced Cat B prisoners. This, in addition to unrelenting staffing shortages has compounded problems in an already very complex and challenging environment. The prison staff struggled to maintain high standards and prisoner activities were severely curtailed for most of the year. The senior management team worked hard to encourage staff and introduce improvements where possible.’ 


Read the report in full here.