HMP Hewell, HMIP Inspections

The prison was last subjected to a full inspection in summer 2016. In their report the inspectors said

“HMP Hewell is a complex institution located in rural Worcestershire. Much of the prison is a relatively modern local facility holding 1074 adult male prisoners and serving courts in the West Midlands. Linked to the main prison, and about half  a mile away, is an old grade II listed country house, The Grange, which operates as an open prison  holding 200 prisoners.

The differences in the purpose and role of both sites caused us to assess each facility separately. On the open site we found a successful prison that, whilst needing some renovation and decoration, was safe, respectful and ensuring reasonably good regime and resettlement opportunities. Use of release on temporary license (ROTL) had improved and was being used effectively to support the open site’s resettlement work. Overall, the outcomes we found there were reasonably good or good.

As we reported when we last inspected the closed site, Hewell remained a prison with many challenges and areas of serious concern. However, we also found some notable improvements and it was striking how very good and poor outcomes existed side by side. Our main concerns at the closed site were regarding issues of safety and respect, and we have highlighted a number of main recommendations relating to these. The first of our main recommendations prioritises the need for better first night arrangements. Prisoners are particularly vulnerable on arrival and yet at the closed site first night procedures were chaotic, staff were  overwhelmed and prisoner sfelt unsafe. Similarly, we have highlighted the need to address the level of violence, which was far too high. The prison had already begun good work – some of it innovative – to help reduce violence, but much of it was new and not yet embedded or applied consistently.

Levels of self-harm had increased and four prisoners had taken their own lives since we last inspected. The case management of  those at risk required improvement and the prison had not applied itself with sufficient determination to  implementing the recommendations made by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) following investigations into these deaths. In contrast,those we spoke to who were at risk felt well supported by wing staff.A further key concern related to basic standards around the prison. The segregation unit was in a terrible state; many cells around the prison were overcrowded or in a similarly poor condition and the inpatient facility in health care was very poor. We have made main recommendations in respect of all these areas. The situation would have been worse if it had not been for reasonably good if somewhat diffident staff-prisoner relationships; notwithstanding their friendly  approach, staff needed to be more robust in challenging poor behaviour. There had been some recent initiatives to improve the promotion of equality but work remained tentative.

We found too many prisoners locked in cell on the closed site during the working day, but most had access to some learning and work opportunities and there were enough to occupy all for at least part of the day. Learning and skills management was good and teaching much improved. We found prisoners motivated to learn, with generally good attendance and punctuality. Success rates were good and our colleagues from Ofsted assessed provision as good overall.

Similarly we found resettlement services at both the open and closed sites to  be reasonably good. Some aspects of offender management were very good and there was some impressive joint working with the community rehabilitation company (CRC).There was some very effective and innovative work across the various resettlement pathways, including support for families, accommodation and offending behaviour.

At the time of the inspection, the deputy governor was in temporary charge and the prison was awaiting the arrival of a new governor. But this uncertainty had not led to lack of leadership; indeed, we found the management team to be focused, innovative and committed to tackling the prison’s problems. We found improvement in many areas and examples of good practice. Nevertheless, very big challenges – operationally, managerially and in terms of resources – were still to be addressed and outcomes for too many prisoners on  the closed site were very poor.


Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM             November  2016                                                                          

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

To read the full report got to the Ministry of Justice web site or follow the links below:

This section contains the reports for Hewell from 2009 until present

  • HMP Hewell (919.04 kB), Report on an announced inspection of HMP Hewell (22 August-9 September 2016)
  • HMP Hewell, Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Hewell (7 – 18 July 2014)
  • HMP Hewell, Unannounced full follow-up inspection of HMP Hewell (5–9 November 2012)
  • HMP Hewell, Announced inspection of HMP Hewell (2-13 November 2009)


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