HMIP Inspections of Franklands

The prison was given an inspection in February 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:

“Frankland is the largest high security dispersal prison in the country. It holds more than 800 men, with most prisoners serving lengthy or indeterminate sentences for very serious offences. Just over a quarter are classified as category A prisoners and around half the population are vulnerable prisoners, kept separate because of the nature of their offence or other vulnerability. At our previous inspection in December 2012, the prison had sustained good progress, and this unannounced inspection indicated to us that this had been maintained.

There will always be significant potential for a serious incident in a prison like Frankland, but in our survey prisoners felt as safe as those in other dispersal prisons and we judged that the systems to manage safety were generally sound. Levels of violence were not high, although there had been a recent increase, which still needed to be fully understood. There was now CCTV coverage on three of the four vulnerable prisoner wings and this had improved both staff and prisoner perceptions of safety. Prisoners in distress generally received good support, and although there had been one self-inflicted death, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman had not felt it necessary to make any substantive recommendations. Security arrangements were significant but proportionate to the risks that presented. However, the regime in the segregation unit was too restricted, especially for long-term residents. The support for men with substance misuse issues was generally good but the diversion of prescribed medication s remained a significant problem.

The residential accommodation was clean and well maintained, even on the older units. Staff-prisoner relationships were mostly good, and the variety of new initiatives to develop this further and some useful consultation groups were encouraging. Equality and diversity work was recovering after a period of neglect, but the progress we had hoped to see after our previous inspection had not been made. In our survey, prisoners from minority groups still reported less positively than others across a range of indicators, although we did find some pockets of good support provided. The management of prisoner complaints had improved and was now good. Although prisoners complained about health care, despite some staffing shortages that were still having a significant impact on the standard of care, most outcomes were reasonable. Palliative care was a particular strength, but there were excessive delays in transferring prisoners to secure mental health facilities under the Mental Health Act, and some aspects of in-possession prescribing needed prompt attention.

Although around one-third of men were locked up during our checks, most prisoners had reasonable time out of cell and were engaged in purposeful activity during most of the working day. Managers had improved the processes for allocating and sequencing activities, and had worked hard to develop systems for prisoners to recognise their learning and record their progress. Most provision was of good quality, most learners achieved well, and behaviour in activities was generally good. The progress made was impressive.

Resettlement provision had been adversely affected by the introduction of ‘dual-role’ offender supervisors and by significant cross-deployment of staff. Offender supervisors no longer had the time to maintain regular contact with prisoners and there was a significant backlog of OASys (offender assessment) reviews. While some prison officer offender supervisors produced work as good as probation officers, others were much less confident and did not have the support and supervision necessary to improve their practice. The prison continued to deliver offending behaviour programmes that met the needs of the population. The few risoners released directly from Frankland received good resettlement support. Many men were many hundreds of miles from their homes and, although visits provision was good, there was insufficient other support to help them maintain contact with their families and friends. The Westgate Unit continued to provide intensive support to men with personality disorders and was an example of good practice.

Overall, the outcomes for prisoners at Frankland were reasonably good or better. Staff managed considerable ongoing risk every day, while maintaining a safe and respectful regime in which prisoners had good learning opportunities. The governor had established a business plan, ‘Moving forward with pride, principle and purpose’, which aimed to help staff understand the needs of the long-term population and develop a rehabilitative culture. The consultative approach adopted was likely to help foster well-being and hopefulness, and to support prisoners’ levels of motivation throughout long sentences. These were essential for the population held and, therefore, from our point of view very welcome initiatives.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM

April 2016

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Return to Franklands

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

  • HMP Frankland (804.65 kB), Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Frankland (22 February – 4 March 2016)
  • HMP Frankland, Unannounced inspection of HMP Frankland (10–14 December 2012)
  • HMP Frankland, Unannounced full follow-up inspection of HMP Frankland (9 – 19 November 2010)
  • HMP Frankland, Announced inspection of HMP Frankland (4-8 February 2008)

On Tuesday 24th March it was announced that all prisons in the UK would go into a "lock down" state, as a result on Covid19.  In simple terms it means that prisoners will be confined to their cells for the vast majority of each day, being unlocked only for meals and very limited exercise periods. All social visits are cancelled with immediate effect.

The prison staff will ensure that medical requirements will be met as per usual but there will be no "association periods" for the prisoners. Undoubtably this will be difficult and stressful for a number of prisoners, but the prison authorities are acting for the greater good of the majority of prisoners and staff.

Any establishment specific queries you may have should be directed to the prisons