HMIP Inspections of Hollesley Bay

The prison was inspected on late 2018, and the full report can be read at the Ministry of Justice site, follow the links below. In his latest report the inspector said: 

HMP & YOI Hollesley Bay is an open prison in Suffolk holding up to 485 adult prisoners. Many of those held are serving relatively long sentences of more than four years, with just over 100 serving over 10 years or life. Those held had been convicted of a range of offences, although more than 100 were violent offenders. At the time we inspected, the prison was making plans to begin holding sex offenders, although there was much more work to do concerning this proposal.

We last inspected the prison in 2014 when we reported on an impressive institution. Following this inspection, we can report that the prison continued to deliver good or reasonably good outcomes for those detained.

Hollesley Bay was a very safe prison. Those arriving were received well into the prison and in our survey most prisoners indicated that they felt safe. Violence was relatively rare and informal structures of support for those who were vulnerable or at risk were good. Use of force was similarly rare but when used its management needed to be more thorough and accountable. The application of security was proportionate, although there had been a disappointing increase in the use of drugs. Strategies were in place to try to address this concern. Self-harm incidents remained infrequent, but support for those who needed it was effective.

 The prison was an overwhelmingly respectful place, underpinned by some very supportive staff-prisoner relationships. That said, there was evidence of a strong undercurrent of prisoners who felt intimidated by staff and feared that they could be arbitrarily returned to closed conditions. This was a perception that the prison needed to do more to understand and remedy. Extensive use of peer supporters was undermined by a lack of clarity concerning some of their roles and some indifferent training. General consultation with prisoners was lacklustre. Accommodation was generally good but the Bosmere unit needed further refurbishment. The grounds were well maintained and accessible. The promotion of equality was weak but evidence suggested most outcomes among those with protected characteristics were equitable. Health and substance misuse services were good.

 Prisoners had significant amounts of time out of their cells and the prison offered a wide range of educational and vocational training programmes. The prison had good relationships with regional employers and this had led to many unpaid and community positions for prisoners on release on temporary licence (ROTL). Accreditation in prison industries and structured careers advice was less well developed. Teaching and prisoner achievements were generally good, with our colleagues in Ofsted assessing overall provision as ‘good’.

ROTL was used extensively to support work, resettlement and family ties. The prison’s approach to reducing reoffending was reasonable, although the analysis of need to support the targeting of resettlement work and the prison’s improvement action plan were too limited. Offender management was improving and contact with supervisors, supported by peer workers and a drop-in surgery, was reasonable. The integration of offender management with the wider establishment was, however, weaker. Of concern, and in contrast to much that was happening in the prison, public protection work was not good enough. We have made this very significant failing the subject of our one main recommendation. Reintegration planning for those approaching release was better.

Hollesley Bay remained a successful and effective prison. The establishment was, at the time of our inspection, experiencing a time of change, with a new governor about to be appointed and plans to develop the prison’s role to hold sex offenders. Outcomes were, however, reasonably good or better and those detained were treated well. We leave the prison with several recommendations which we hope will assist further improvement.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM                                          December 2018 HM Chief Inspector of Prison

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

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