HMIP Inspections of Haverigg

The prison was given an inspection in March/April 2017, 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 situated in West Cumbria. At the time of the last inspection, Haverigg was holding around 650 adult men, but when we visited this time that number had more than halved. Police operation Knightsbridge had been launched in 2016 to investigate two deaths in custody and a serious assault which were alleged to have taken place in the old billet accommodation; the safety of these facilities had been criticised by this Inspectorate in the past. As a consequence of these events, the then National Offender Management Service (now known as Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)) took  the decision to close these units because the safety of prisoners living there could not be assured. We welcomed that decision. The police investigation was scaled down during our visit but had not concluded. It is not the purpose of this report to examine the issues being investigated under Knightsbridge, but it is important to acknowledge that managers and staff were operating against the backdrop of a significant police investigation. Staff repeatedly expressed ongoing fear s to us that the prison would close, although we had no knowledge of such a plan.

The governor had retained most of his budget and resource originally allocated for the larger population and, with the exception of detached duty commitments, was using this money to manage the remaining four units. This respite had enabled him to make some notable improvements that became evident to us at this inspection.

Every new prisoner was now seen on reception by a member of the mental health team, and prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm were well cared for. Levels of violence had reduced since the decommissioning of the billet accommodation but remained too high, although they were now lower than at comparator establishments. More needed to  be done to manage the perpetrators of violence and support victims. The long, rural and therefore vulnerable perimeter added to the problem of drugs at the establishment, and we were shown the evidence of some significant finds. That said, we found very few prisoners isolating themselves and almost all of those we spoke to during the inspection said that Haverigg was now a safer and more decent prison. Security was proportionate, which we felt demonstrated measured leadership given the recent history of the establishment. Rather than tightening security, curtailing the regime and locking people up to keep them apart, the prison was managing risk, which was having a positive impact.

Our partners in Ofsted endorsed the governor for prioritising education and work as routes to rehabilitation, and the prison offered a range of quality full-time activity places for every prisoner.There was a clear focus on getting people out of their cells and into work, education and training.

Staff understood the importance of keeping prisoners occupied and our roll checks showed thatmore prisoners than at the last inspection were unlocked and in work – this was better than in many comparable prisons. There were one or two weaknesses in learning and skills, the most significant being that achievements in the important areas of maths and English were not good enough. Equality and diversity work was improving and there was a more strategic approach to managingresettlement.

We were, however, disappointed that, given the extra resources the prison now had, little had been done to address the living conditions on the units, which, with the exception of Kainos, were shabby and dirty. Efforts were being made to improve the external fabric but there was no excuse for the poor standards of decoration and cleanliness on three of the four residential units; even the enhanced wing looked dirty and neglected and staff were failing to set and enforce reasonable standards.

Health services were reasonably good, although a rigid application of a zero tolerance policy when dealing with challenging prisoners increased the risk of prisoners being deprived of the health care they needed. This was a serious failing of governance that required immediate correction, and was something we brought to the attention of the governor.

Haverigg has had a troubled past and there was still much to do at the establishment. That said, it is important to end on a positive note which recognises the efforts made by the governor and his team not to let that troubled past define  the prison’s future. Haverigg’s real strength lies in it relationships, from the governor’s positive relationships with partners and staff associations to those between staff of all disciplines and the prisoners in their care. We  left the establishment feeling confident that, with continued support from HMPPS, the team at Haverigg will embrace the recommendations made in this report and improvements will continue.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM

May 2017 

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Return to Haverigg

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

  • HMP Haverigg (514.94 kB), Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Haverigg (27–28 March, 3–6 April 2017)
  • HMP Haverigg, Unannounced inspection of HMP Haverigg (6 – 17 January 2014)
  • HMP Haverigg, Unannounced full follow-up inspection of HMP Haverigg (16 – 25 March 2011)
  • HMP Haverigg, Announced inspection of HMP Haverigg (2-6 February 2009)