Swinfen Hall continues to provide a safe, respectful and decent environment

The Independent Monitoring Board for HMP & YOI Swinfen Hall, which is located on the outskirts of Lichfield, has produced its Annual Report for the period from May 2015 to April 2016 as required by Statute.

The Board is again pleased to recognise the good standards of the work carried out by the Governors and staff at Swinfen Hall. It is our considered view that, notwithstanding the challenges facing prisons in the current period, Swinfen Hall continues to provide a safe, respectful and decent environment which is supportive of prisoner rehabilitation. This level of confidence has been evidenced by the Board’s regular monitoring visits, attendance at various internal committees and groups, and numerous interactions with a large number of prisoners.

The key concerns highlighted below are among those raised for the Minister’s and Prison Service attention:

1) The poor quality of some of the estate is still an issue despite reassurances from the Minister in his response to the last report and this is compounded by issues with the delivery of the contracted out service for repairs, maintenance and estates functions.

2) The apparent conflict between Government policy seeking to increase and enhance prisoner work (Ministry of Justice) and reductions in funding of further education (Education and Skills) has been a concern during the year due to the serious consequences for vocational workshop provision.

3) Changes in the healthcare provider during this reporting year as a result of retendering gave rise to significant disruption and waiting times for dental treatment are unacceptably long.

4) The policy for local release to resettlement prisons is not working.

5) A disproportionate amount of time is spent on dealing with prisoner applications for transfer to other establishments which when replicated across the prison estate represents a massive waste of resources.