The prison was given an inspection in January 2014, the full report can be read at the Ministry of Justice web site, just follow the links below. In their latest report the inspectors said:
“HMP Haverigg is a category C male training prison holding about 650 adult men. It is situated in West Cumbria and is perhaps the Prison Service’s most isolated prison. The prison had weathered the upheavals and uncertainties of budget cuts, prison closures and new policies better than most. It had maintained its performance, there was a real sense of some momentum, and realistic plans were in place to tackle some long term weaknesses. Nevertheless, while there was a real prospect of improvement, it still had more to deliver and at the time of this inspection, outcomes for prisoners were still not good enough in some crucial areas.
Prisoners arrived at the prison after a long and uncomfortable journey and few had any idea they were coming to Haverigg. Although reception arrangements were generally efficient, first night accommodation was poor. The main induction was delivered entirely by prison orderlies and we were not satisfied that all new arrivals received it. Once settled in most prisoners felt safe – significantly more told us they felt safe at the time of this inspection than at the last inspection and more than in comparable prisons. However, for a small minority of prisoners this was not the case.
There was gang and debt-related bullying. Staff supervision was made difficult by the layout of the prison, with many prisoners accommodated in ‘billets’ or huts, each holding around 15 to 20 men and grouped into larger units, poor external lighting, and limited CCTV coverage. We did not think the prison was on top of the problem. Not all incidents of violence were effectively identified or investigated and support for victims was poor. We found men too frightened to come out of their cells or seeking refuge by getting themselves placed in segregation. The prison’s policies for dealing with this were good – but they were not consistently implemented. Support for men at risk of suicide or self-harm, on the other hand, was consistently good.
Some disciplinary processes were excessive. The number of adjudications was high and some were poorly dealt with. We were particularly concerned about the use of force. Usage was high and, again, some of the incidents we examined were poorly dealt with. Governance was poor and we referred the recorded footage of one incident we examined to the governor for further investigation. All planned use of force should be filmed and reviewed and staff should know that is happening. Segregation usage was higher than at the last inspection and some men spent too long there. The environment and regime were poor but staff had a good knowledge of the men in their care and treated them well.
The quality of accommodation ranged from good to poor but this and many other weaknesses in the prison were mitigated by generally very good staff-prisoner relationships. However, these generally respectful relationships were undermined by very poor work on equality and diversity. The prison had little idea of the identity and needs of prisoners with protected characteristics. For example, in our survey prisoners from black and minority ethnic backgrounds reported much more negatively than the population as a whole. The prison was unable to explain to us why this might be so. Health care had improved since the last inspection but it was unacceptable that prisoners who were unwell had to queue outside in foul weather for medical appointments.
Most prisoners enjoyed good time out of cell but there were too few activity places available and allocation processes were inefficient. Those who were unemployed had a very restricted regime. For those in activity, the leadership, quality and achievements provided were good. There was a wide range of work, training and education opportunities on offer which were thoughtfully linked to employment prospects in the areas to which most prisoners would return. The ‘smokery’ that produced and sold smoked food was run with infectious enthusiasm and provided a very realistic working environment. The library was very good and provided a range of ancillary services that encouraged prisoners to read. PE provision was also very good.
New offender management arrangements were being put in place and at the time of the inspection some staff were very new to their posts and there were a number of vacancies. The problems were compounded because almost one-third of the population had an out of date or no OASys assessment. Not surprisingly, many prisoners told us they had little contact with their offender supervisor and that they were receiving little help to achieve their sentence plan targets. However, practical resettlement services were much better. Almost no prisoners were released without accommodation to go to; and there was good support to help prisoners obtain a job or training. Help with money management, healthcare and substance abuse needs was also satisfactory. Visit arrangements were adequate and there was a good range of family support services.
Prisoners who kept their heads down, made the most of the opportunities on offer and whose needs were typical of the prison’s population as a whole would probably do reasonably well at Haverigg. However, those who needed more support or whose needs differed from the majority might have a less positive experience – sometimes to an unacceptable degree. Progress is being made and a positive, experienced staff group have created the foundations for further progress, but some processes need to be significantly improved and managers need to give close attention to ensuring that poor practice is challenged and improved.
Nick Hardwick May 2014
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons”
To read the full reports, go to the Ministry of Justice site or follow the links below: