HMIP Inspections, Hatfield

The prison was inspected during August 2019. In his report the inspector said: 

HMP/YOI Hatfield is a category D resettlement prison for men situated near to Doncaster in South Yorkshire. The prison is split across two sites: a main site, and a further site that used to form part of HMP Lindholme but is now used for receptions into the prison and is usually referred to as Hatfield Lakes or The Lakes site. In common with the other prisons in this cluster, it went through a failed market test some years ago, but since 2015 has been an autonomous establishment. At the time of this inspection the prison held a little under 380 men, of whom around 70 were aged over 50.Thirty per cent were from black and minority ethnic groups. The prison was last inspected in 2015, on which occasion it attracted the highest grading, of ‘good’, in all four of our healthy prison tests.

On this occasion, the prison again inspected very well, achieving ‘  good’ grades across the board. A new governor was in the process of taking up post during this inspection, but the prison had benefited from consistent leadership for a number of years, which was also reflected in what appeared to be a settled, mature and very competent staff group.

The prison was unequivocally safe. Violence was very rare, the overwhelming majority of prisoners felt safe and staff struggled to recall the last time there had been an assault. No incidents of self-harm had been recorded in the year preceding the inspection and the impression I gained was of an institution that was relaxed and well ordered. The incentives scheme operated well, the numbers placed on report was lower than at other category D prisons and the use of force was rare. Around eight to 10 prisoners were returned to closed conditions each month. I was very impressed to learn that if a prisoner transgressed in some way  , rather than halt his potential progression with an immediate return to closed conditions, he would typically be sent to The Lakes site for a period of assessment in order decide the best way forward. It seemed to me that this approach had much t o commend it.

Relationships between staff and prisoners were good and there was a clear sense of community. However, the prison was not funded for the Offender Management in Custody (OMiC) programme, which limited the amount of time available for staff to interact on a one-to-one basis with prisoners. There was also a need to conduct further work and analysis to understand inequalities and perceptions of inequality revealed both by our survey and the prison’s own data. We also felt that a broader review of consultation arrangements would be beneficial, to demonstrate the value of what was being done, as part of broader work to improve confidence in the complaints process. Although generally the sites were in good condition and living conditions reasonable, some units were showing signs of age and needed refurbishment. We were given to understand that funding for this work had been bid for, but had already been allocated elsewhere and would not become available for at least two years.

As was to be expected in an establishment of this kind, time out of cell was excellent. Our colleagues from Ofsted judged that the leadership and management of learning, skills and work were good, and the achievement of qualifications on most courses was at a very high level. One in five prisoners were released into the community on employment and training placements, although it was not always possible to see clear linkages between these placements and long-term career aspirations on release. The number of releases on temporary licence (ROTL) was dependent upon individual members of staff with extensive local knowledge, energy and expertise, rather than robust, documented processes. Nevertheless, we felt that the overall provision of purposeful activity remained good in terms of our healthy prison test.

Work with children and families was very good, and prisoners were positive about visit provision at Hatfield. It was also pleasing to see that home detention curfew processes were well managed, with all applications during the pas  t s  ix months having been approved and mos  t put into action at the earliest opportunity. It was also good to see that Multi  -Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA) levels were confirmed before prisoners gained access to ROTL, which is better than we often see. It was also pleasing to see that no prisoners had been released homeless during the previous six months, and that every prisoner was discussed at a discharge board prior to release, which we considered to be good practice.

This was obviously a very positive inspection, and it was good to see that after the previous excellent inspection in 2015, complacency had not been allowed to take root. Whilst it had no impact in itself on our judgements, it was notable that the achievement rate against our previous recommendations was extremely high, with 26 out of 30 recommendations being fully or partially achieved.

HMP/YOI Hatfield was a well-run and decent establishment, fulfilling its role in preparing men for their release.  There was much to commend, and the leadership and staff should take pride in what they have achieved and how they have encouraged the prisoners to play an active role in making it a safe, decent and purposeful establishment.


Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM                 August 2019

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

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