HMP Whatton, HMIP Inspections

The prison was given a full inspection in 2016 The inspector of prison said in his report:

HMP Whatton is a category C training prison  in Nottinghamshire holding 838 convicted male prisoners. It fulfils a national function of providing services that seek to address the offending behaviour of mainly sex offenders. Over 90% of Whatton’s population are serving long sentences in excess of four years, with just fewer than three quarters serving indeterminate or life sentences. Prisoners held at Whatton come from across the country and about two thirds are over the age of 40.

At our last inspection in 2012 we reported very positively on a prisonthat was delivering some excellent outcomes with a settled but high-risk population. At this inspection we found the same, with outcomes in all but one of our healthy prison tests judged to be good – our highest judgement.

Whatton remained an overwhelmingly safe prison.  Very good work had been undertaken to improve reception, risk assessment and induction arrangements upon arrival, and there was comparatively little violence or anti-social behaviour. Levels of self-harm had increased in recent times, but overall care for those in crisis was good.  More could have been done to refine the substance misuse strategy, and there was some evidence that medications were being diverted, but security arrangements were proportionate and the segregation unit was very well-managed.

The amount of time prisoners had out of cell was very good and they benefited from an excellent regime. Our colleagues in Ofsted judged the learning and skills provision across all its assessments, including overall effectiveness, to be outstanding, something we rarely find in adult male prisons. Some work on offer was less demanding, but generally  the quality of teaching, learning and coaching was excellent and prisoners developed useful skills.

The prison’s resettlement strategy was quite rightly centred on offender management and risk reduction. Too many prisoners continued to arrive  at the prison without an up-to-date offender assessment, but once addressed the quality of supervision, sentence planning and risk assessment were consistently good. Public protection work was mostly good and despite Whatton not being a designated resettlement prison, services had been developed locally to meet the needs of prisoners who were eventually discharged. Some good work was being done to promote family ties and there was an extensive range of offending behaviour programmes to meet need and support the prison’s core function.

The one area where we had some concerns was that of respect. The environment and quality of accommodation generally was excellent. The exception was B wing where some of the smallest and most cramped cells in the prison system existed.  Some improvements had been made since the last inspection but conditions on B wing remained poor. In addition, we evidenced some very poor practice in the way race diversity complaints were answered, which required immediate attention and which we brought to the attention of the governor. Beyond this, and in sharp contrast, some very positive work – some of it groundbreaking – was being undertaken to promote other aspects of equality. The quality of relationships between staff an d prisoners in the prison was very good and this was supported by a very constructive approach to prisoner consultation and the use of peer support. The provision of health and social care was again very good.

To conclude, this was another excellent report on a prison with a clear sense of purpose. The prison was well-led and had benefitted greatly from a settled  senior team who were striving for continuous improvement. The prison had a number of advantages – notably a generally mature and compliant population – but also challenges in terms of managing and reducing, on behalf of the public, the significant offending behaviour risks of those they held. The prison made the most of its advantages, evidenced much good practice and delivered good outcomes.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM          October         2016
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Return to Whatton

To see the full report go to the Ministry of Justice web site

This section contains the reports for Whatton from 2002 until present