HMIP Inspections, Hatfield

The prison was inspected during summer 2015, after the decision to privatise the prison had been reversed and it remained under public control. In his report the inspector said: 

“Although formerly an independent institution, in recent years Hatfield had been part of the South Yorkshire cluster of prisons and managed collaboratively alongside HMPs Moorland and Lindholme. At the conclusion of a failed market test in late 2013, the prison was retained in the public sector and since April 2015 had been re-established as an autonomous and separate institution. Holding about 270 category D adult male prisoners, the prison was on two sites – the original Hatfield site and a new addition, the old Lindholme I wing, now referred to as the Lakes Unit.

This is a very good report on a prison that has come through change and uncertainty and is now confidently establishing its own identity and priorities, and evidencing significant improvement. Across all our four tests of a healthy prison, it achieved our highest assessment.

Hatfield is a safe prison. There had been really good work to develop the Lakes Unit as an effective reception/induction facility. Prisoners were received well and in our survey nearly all indicated they felt safe on their first night. There was little violence or self-harm across the prison and some useful new initiatives to support social care and safeguarding were developing. Security was applied with proportionality and illicit drug use appeared low, although there was some evidence concerning the diversion of prescribed medication and the emergence of new psychoactive substances.

The environment at both sites was generally very good and living conditions, as well as access to amenities, had improved. Relationships between staff and prisoners were excellent, with 92% of prisoners in our survey indicating that they felt respected by staff. In addition, good structures were now in place to make personal officer work and prisoner consultation, the latter a particular strength, much more effective. Equality outcomes in general were satisfactory and underpinned by strong relationships. Improvements were needed to Chaplaincy services but these were being addressed.

Complaints were dealt with properly and there was adequate support for prisoners with legal issues to resolve. Nearly two-thirds of prisoners thought the food was good which was a dramatic improvement on previous findings. Health outcomes were similarly good and improving, and appreciated by prisoners.

Prisoners had full days and good access to the benefits of an open prison regime. Our Ofsted colleagues assessed the overall effectiveness of learning and skills and work as ‘outstanding’, a rare occurrence in a prison inspection with a focused, well-planned and coherent provision and curriculum meeting the needs of the population. The management of vocational training was excellent. Excellent partnerships with local employers were successfully providing high quality training and employment and progression opportunities in both paid and unpaid roles. There were sufficient work and education places to meet the needs of the whole population. Teachers and managers had high expectations of prisoners with outstanding individual coaching and motivational support. Prisoners’ experiences of learning and skills, as well as outcomes, were among the better examples we have seen in prisons.

The prison’s approach to resettlement would have benefited from better coordination with greater attention given to offender management work, but all prisoners had an allocated offender supervisor and most OASys risk assessments were of good quality. Sentence planning focused on temporary release (ROTL), work and education, with ROTL used extensively to support progress and resettlement priorities. Prisoners were positive about the resettlement support they received with good partnership working between the prison, education providers, the National Careers Service and the newly and well established community rehabilitation company (CRC) evidencing some very good outcomes for prisoners.

Hatfield was a very good prison. It was well led and had a clear vision of what it was trying to achieve. Change and new initiatives were thought through and planned well, and there was a competence about the way new work was delivered. Prisoners were treated with respect, risk was managed properly and proportionately and prisoners had an incentive to invest in what they could achieve for themselves and their futures. The governor and his team deserve credit for their work in developing this effective prison.


Nick Hardwick                                                                       2015

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons”


Return to Hatfield

The full reports can be read at the Ministry of Justice web site, just follow the links below: