Staff shortages and substandard accommodation thwart progress at HMP Norwich

The IMB at HMP Norwich report that despite a major recruitment programme, staff shortages and lack of experience continue to detrimentally affect the lives of prisoners and staff.

The scarcity of staff on the landings and inadequate time available to develop supportive interactions between staff and prisoners have resulted in safety being compromised. Time out of cell has been restricted, activity sessions cancelled and staff are frequently cross-deployed to ‘plug the gaps’ in the daily management of the prison, losing vital personal knowledge of prisoners’ needs.

Prisoner on prisoner violence is widespread with a lack of respect for staff, property and each other. The Board notes that experienced staff continue to maintain the best possible atmosphere in difficult circumstances.

The Board is disappointed by the lack of capital investment into refurbishment of accommodation and facilities at Norwich Prison, concluding “Prisoners are not always treated humanely in this respect”. “Damp-smelling cells with mould on the walls and bubbled paintwork”, showers “green with mould”, no “washing machines for over three months”, “prisoners laundering their sheets and towels on the wings” cannot be acceptable.

Full-time purposeful activity spaces are inadequate and attendance at work and education is not satisfactory, despite many attempts to improve these figures.

The Government’s “Through the Gate” resettlement policy lacks effectiveness and continuity of support. How can prisoners, in the 21st Century, be released into the community with no fixed abode due to the lack of available approved accommodation?

 

Read the report in full here.