The prison was last inspected in July 2021. In their report the inspectors said:
“HMP Hull is a large, inner-city male establishment holding just under 1,000 prisoners. A prison of two halves, the four older wings date from the late 19th century, with the remainder built in the early part of the 21st century. The older wings act as a local or reception establishment, receiving remanded or newly convicted men from the local community, while the newer wings largely hold vulnerable prisoners, many of whom are convicted of sexual offences.
A complex, interesting and challenging institution, Hull is a prison about which we have been able to report positively at recent inspections. At our last visit in 2018, for example, we found that outcomes for prisoners were reasonably good against all four tests of a healthy prison. Findings at this inspection have been more disappointing, with evidence of significant shortcomings and deterioration in all four of our assessments.
The prison had been impacted quite significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic and experienced more than one outbreak, although it had responded quickly and effectively to these difficulties. It was also undergoing a period of transition with the recent arrival of a new governor, as well as other changes to the senior management team. Despite this the prison seemed to have retained some core strengths and generally remained a capable institution. Staff were experienced and prisoners appeared to have considerable confidence in them. Staff culture was quite traditional, which was mostly a strength, but there was clearly a need for effective oversight, supervision and regulation to ensure relationships remained constructive and legitimate.
Our sense was that this was a time of potential and opportunity for the prison. Hull was beginning to work towards recovery as it emerged from the restrictions of the pandemic and the governor was in the process of refining his priorities. We were told this included better meeting the needs of short sentence prisoners, staff training, operational grip and safety. As priorities they were reasonable, but there was a need for more substance and clarity in the establishment’s plans that detailed how improvements would be made, by whom and when. It was clear to us that current oversight arrangements and structures lacked rigour and accountability and we identified the need for improvement in several specific areas of delivery, including segregation arrangements, safer custody and the use of force. Other priorities included offender management and public protection procedures, both of which required improvement; greater ambition in improving access to activity and time out of cell; and getting a much better hold on the delivery of decent health care, an area that was failing badly.
Standards and outcomes have slipped at Hull. The situation however, seems eminently retrievable, subject to some meaningful planning which focuses on improved outcomes and is supported by rigorous oversight to ensure delivery, compliance and accountability. We have made recommendations which we hope will support that process and believe a relatively early return visit by the Inspectorate may be beneficial.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
The full reports can be read at the Ministry of Justice web site, just follow the links below:
- Inspection report (2 MB), Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Hull by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (12-13 and 26-30 July 2021)
- HMP Hull, Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Hull (26 March–12 April 2018)
- HMP Hull, Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Hull (6–17 October 2014)
- HMP Hull, Unannounced short follow-up inspection of HMP Hull (14 – 17 February 2012)
- HMP Hull, Announced inspection on HMP Hull (10 – 14 November 2008)