Yorkshire prison bucks the trend, IMB Full Sutton report

Independent monitors at HMP Full Sutton report that the high security prison near Stamford Bridge provides a safe and secure environment for prisoners and staff. Full Sutton suffered none of the disruption faced by some other prisons at the end of 2016. Despite reductions in staff numbers, good order and discipline have been maintained through constant vigilance, and the development of improved relationships between prisoners and staff. Violence between prisoners, and violence towards staff reduced in 2016. There was an increase in the numbers of prisoners who self-harmed. However, in 2016 no prisoner in Full Sutton took his own life.

The IMB has reported that more needs to be done to ensure that new prisoners coming into Full Sutton are employed quickly, so that they don’t fall into debt and are pressurised by other prisoners, and to ensure that a gang culture that has developed doesn’t become accepted as the norm. The regime in the segregation unit has improved. But the IMB recommends that the Prison Service should review the use and purpose of such units. Overall, there is not enough work for prisoners to do and the IMB has informed the Prisons Minister that there is a need for a fresh impetus and focus from government on employment and education for long term prisoners, both to help with rehabilitation, and to support safety and security within the prison.

Helen Scull, Chair of the IMB, says:

“HMP Full Sutton houses some of the country’s most serious offenders. Our overall assessment is that they are treated fairly by the regime there. We are aware that some prisoners themselves recognise this too. The prison ensures the environment for all prisoners is as safe as possible. There is no room for complacency. This is achieved through constant hard work, vigilance, and good communication with prisoners”



Notes to editors

The Prison Act 1952 requires every prison to be monitored by an Independent Board appointed by the Secretary of State from members of the community in which the prison or centre is situated.

The Board is specifically charged to:

(1)  satisfy itself as to the humane and just treatment of those held in custody within its prison and the range and adequacy of the programmes preparing them for release.

(2)  inform promptly the Secretary of State, or any official to whom he has delegated authority as it judges appropriate, any concern it has.

(3)  report annually to the Secretary of State on how well the prison has met the standards and requirements placed on it and what impact these have on those in its custody.

To enable the Board to carry out these duties effectively, its members have right of access to every prisoner and every part of the prison and also to the prison’s records.