HMIP Reports, HMP Cardiff

The prison was given an inspection in summer 2016, 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 & YOI Cardiff is a category B local training prison holding male adult prisoners sentenced by the courts in south east Wales. In recent times a significant number of prisoners have also transferred in from English prisons. At the time of this inspection the prison held some 770 men. We found that outcomes in the areas of safety and respect had declined since our last inspection in 2013 from being reasonably good to not sufficiently good, which was disappointing. However, outcomes in the area of resettlement had improved and were now reasonably good. Overall, this inspection found a mixed picture of progress in a local prison that  had faced the same challenges as many other local prisons.

Those challenges included staff shortages following the benchmarking process and an increased availability and use of new psychoactive substances (NPS), leading to an inevitable increase in unpredictable and violent behaviour. The prison had also implemented a smoking ban that was unpopular with some. In addition, Cardiff had an unusually high level of reported mental health problems. It is to the prison’s credit that, despite these challenges, it did not feel unstable, and staff-prisoner relationships had been maintained. It is clear that those relationships were a key feature of the prison, and helped it in facing the challenges.

However, as far as outcomes for prisoners were concerned, there were significant issues affecting the safety of the establishment. There were rising  levels of violence and weak management of key areas such as the use of force. The segregation unit provided a poor environment, and more needed to be done to address the supply of illegal drugs into the prison.

In common with many other older prisons, the physical environment left much to be desired. Some cells were in a poor state, and there was a lack of  basic facilities such as clean clothes and bedding. On a positive note, health care was generally good, and there was good provision for those suffering from severe mental health issues. However, there were a large number of prisoners with lower level mental health problems whose needs were not being adequately met.

The entirely appropriate efforts to bring stability and predictability to the regime had inevitably meant that time out of cell was more restricted than it otherwise would have been; it was hoped that a full regime would quickly be restored. At the time of the inspection the very good range and quality of activities on offer was not being fully utilised. Resettlement work was done well to meet the needs of the short-stay prisoners who formed the large majority of the population, and this had counterbalanced some shortcomings in delivering effective offender management. There was some particularly good work evident in the area of family contact.

In summary, HMP & YOI Cardiff relied very heavily on a decent, hard-working staff group who had maintained good relationships with the men in their care, and had done well to keep the prison stable through some challenging times. However, for the future, the prison needs to reduce its reliance on key individuals and embed sound working practices and processes into the operation of the establishment, thereby ensuring  long-term safety and stability.


Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM         October 2016                                                                             

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons”

Return to Cardiff

To read the full reports, go to the Ministry of Justice site or follow the links below:

  • HMP & YOI Cardiff (597.51 kB), Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP & YOI Cardiff (25–26 July, 1–5 August 2016)
  • HMP Cardiff, Announced inspection of HMP Cardiff (18–22 March 2013)
  • Garchar Ei Mawrhydi Caerdydd, Arolygiad lle rhoddwyd rhybudd o Garchar Ei Mawrhydi Caerdydd (18–22 Mawrth 2013)
  • HMP Cardiff, Unannounced short follow-up inspection of HMP Cardiff (28-30 June 2010)
  • CEM Caerdydd, Adroddiad arolygiad dilynol byr dirybudd o Garchar Ei Mawrhydi Caerdydd (28-30 Mehefin 2010)
  • HMP Cardiff/CEM Caerdydd, Unannounced inspection of HM Prison Cardiff (7-11 January 2008)/Arolygiad lle rhoddwyd rhybudd CEM Caerdydd (7-11 Ionawr 2008)