HMP Sudbury, HMIP Inspections

The prison was given an inspection by HMIP in 2010. In their report they said;

“Sudbury is an open prison in the East Midlands, holding around 570 low-risk prisoners. Since our last visit, the prison had faced significant efficiencies and its population had increased, including a substantial influx of indeterminate-sentenced prisoners. Nevertheless, it continued to provide a reasonably safe, respectful and purposeful environment with a sound focus on resettlement.

Sudbury remained an essentially safe place and, commendably, the number of absconds had continued to fall. However, we were surprised that prisoners reported negatively on early days in custody. There was a need to review first night arrangements and induction to ensure that prisoners – many having served long periods in closed conditions – were properly supported to make a smooth transition to open conditions.

Suicide and self-harm prevention procedures were sound and there were few incidents of violence. Security was well managed, but prisoners reported that drugs were relatively easy to obtain. There was little use of force, but the segregation unit required improvement.

The accommodation and environment were generally well maintained. Relationships between staff and prisoners varied, and were not supported by an effective personal officer scheme. While the small number of staff in open prisons will always make such schemes difficult to achieve, we have seen examples around the estate where similar prisons have risen to the challenge, and also placed such officers at the centre of offender anagement and resettlement work.

The quality of work to address diversity varied. There were good efforts to ensure race equality, but nascent work in most other areas and very limited support for foreign nationals. The chaplaincy offered a full range of services, and health care was generally sound.

Sudbury remained a generally purposeful prison, with sufficient work, training or education places for all prisoners, together with an impressive amount of voluntary and paid work in the community for those assessed as suitable. However, the quality of some prison work was mundane, and there was plenty of scope to increase the availability of vocational qualifications.

The library was excellent, and PE was well managed.

There was a good strategic focus on resettlement. Offender management was well managed, although resources were inevitably tight and there was a backlog in some assessments. The establishment had managed the increased population of indeterminate-sentenced prisoners very well. Work along most resettlement pathways was good, although better support was needed to help prisoners find jobs on release.

Sudbury continues to provide a reasonably safe, respectful and purposeful environment, together with an effective focus on resettlement. Indeed, since our last visit it has risen to the challenge of an increased population, including many more indeterminate-sentenced prisoners, while continuing to manage down the number of absconds.

There are a number of areas where further improvement is needed but, overall, staff are to be commended for maintaining a largely effective open prison at a challenging time.


Nigel Newcomen July 2010

HM Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons”

Return to Sudbury

To see the full report go to the Ministry of Justice web site

This section contains the reports for Sudbury from 2001 until present

Report on an announced inspection of HMP Sudbury (12-16 April 2010) by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (PDF 0.54mb)

Report on an unannounced short follow-up inspection of HMP Sudbury (2-3 May 2007) by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (PDF 0.65mb)

Report on an announced inspection of HMP Sudbury (10-14 January 2005) by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (PDF 0.50mb)

Report of a short unannounced inspection of HM Prison Sudbury 9-11 April 2001 (PDF 0.12mb)