The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for HMP Wakefield has just published its Report on the last year (1st May 2015 to April 30th 2016) to the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.
HMP Wakefield is one of only eight High Security Prisons in the country. It manages around 750 prisoners, including many of the highest risk categories. A large proportion of these are serious sex offenders. It has a challenging task, reflecting the nature of the prisoners’ offences, many of which are denied by the offenders, as well as the aged Victorian fabric of much the Prison, and inevitably limited resources.
The IMB, made up of volunteers from the local community, is very pleased to be able to recognise that the Prison has continued to make a number of distinct achievements and improvements.
Substantial good work is being achieved particularly in the area of resettlement of prisoners, underpinned by the provision for education and work. The overall level of care of prisoners is also considered to be good. Perhaps the greatest challenge for the Prison will be to maintain the momentum for change, and sustain the considerable number of different initiatives now being undertaken in developing the pathways designed to achieve a rehabilitative community. The Chair of the Monitoring Board, David Smethurst, says “the Board is very concerned to support these initiatives, and to ensure that adequate funding is retained to secure progress. The Board considers this rehabilitative work is the most important and challenging aspect of the Prison’s activities”.
Looking forward to the current year, provision of health care in this Prison, which has an ageing population, will also be very important. New providers – Care UK – have taken over at the start of the Board’s new reporting year. The Board will continue to monitor attempts to improve provision, and to consider the continuity and level of care achieved by these new providers.
Problems with the fabric of the Prison continue, which is to be expected given the age of the Prison. These problems remain of concern to the Board, and particularly relate to the timeliness and cost effectiveness of the contracted suppliers, Amey. The Board will particularly wish to monitor the adequacy of this supply, and its effects on the operation of the Prison.