HMIP Inspections of Send

The prison was given an inspection in early 2014, 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:

“Send prison in Surrey holds just over 280 convicted women prisoners, well over half of whom are serving very long or indeterminate sentences, often for quite serious offences. We last inspected in 2011 when we reported that Send was a settled institution with impressive features to aspects of its regime. This inspection has found that improvement has continued and Send is now a very successful prison. It is one of the few prisons to achieve our highest grading for outcomes across all four of our healthy prison tests.

We found Send to be a very safe institution and women were properly received and inducted when they arrived. In our survey most women told us that they felt safe and violent incidents were very rare. Problems when they occurred were usually restricted to verbal conflict, but the prison was not complacent and intervened to deal with such issues. Levels of self-harm continued to reduce and care for those who were vulnerable was good. There had been no self-inflicted deaths since our last inspection. Women with very complex needs were well managed but greater scrutiny was needed of the few occasions when women who threatened self-harm had been subject to force or placed in protective strip clothing. Safety was further underpinned by adult safeguarding arrangements that had been developed in conjunction with the local authority and other partners.

Security was applied with proportion and there was little evidence of significant illicit drug use, which was even more commendable given the number of women being released on temporary licence each day. It was also notable that women with alcohol issues now received appropriate support. Incentives and earned privileges (IEP) arrangements supported the safety of the prison but some requirements, notably that the hoods be cut off women’s coats, were ridiculous. There was only limited need for formal disciplinary processes and there was little use of force. Commendably there was no segregation unit and the few women who occasionally required separation were supervised successfully on the wings.

Living conditions and the environment were generally very good and relationships between staff and prisoners were particularly strong. The promotion of equality and diversity was, however, unsophisticated and required attention, although most outcomes were reasonable. Gaining a better understanding of the concerns of some minority groups who, when surveyed, were less positive across a range of issues, was something the prison needed to do. Health services were good and mental health provision impressive. More women than usual said the food was good and all could dine in association. Some women were also able to prepare their own meals, which was another impressive feature of the prison.

Prisoners had a good amount of time out of cell, and reasonable access to the prison’s well kept, clean grounds. Learning and skills provision was well managed with timetabling that sought to balance education and work and meet individual need. There was sufficient education, vocational training and work for all the women held with more courses planned. Some provision, however, was still not used efficiently. Achievement was high on most programmes but required improvement in functional skills such as English and maths. The library and gym were accessible, and provided good learning opportunities.

Resettlement services were much better than we often see, and offender management arrangements were good. While the backlog in assessments was well managed, this had increased since our previous inspection and needed ongoing attention. Women benefited from good opportunities for release on temporary licence, and assessment arrangements for this were suitably robust. Resettlement planning began on arrival and was followed up to the point of release with a good range of appropriate resettlement services offered. Support to maintain contact with families and friends was good, but family visits were over-subscribed and a specialist family support worker would have facilitated more bespoke and proactive support.

Support for women who had been victims of domestic violence or involved in sex work was embedded in some of the resettlement work offered, but nevertheless needed to be improved with more specific and identifiable interventions offered.

Perhaps the key feature of Send and the work that best defined the institution were the excellent range of interventions offered to address offending behaviour. These included the only therapeutic community for women prisoners currently available, and the psychologically informed physical environment (PIPE) unit, a facility seeking to address the needs of those with personality disorder.

Other interventions addressed substance misuse, restorative justice as well as a range of other issues relevant to the risk of offending and harm. In our report we highlight a number of relatively minor concerns that will assist the prison, but overall this is an excellent report that describes the work of a very effective prison. Women, some of whom are dealing with long sentences and considerable personal challenges and risks, are kept safely and in a prison that affords them respect. They use their time usefully and their risks are addressed meaningfully.

This is not only a good prison; it is a useful and effective prison. The governor and staff should be congratulated on their success.

Nick Hardwick                       June 2014

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons”

Return to Send

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

  • HMP Send, Unannounced inspection of HMP Send (3 – 14 February 2014)
  • HMP Send, Announced inspection of HMP Send (6-10 December 2010)
  • HMP Send, Unannounced short follow-up inspection of HMP Send (18-22 August 2008