HMIP Inspections, Moorland

The prison was inspected during February 2019. In his report on the inspection held in the inspector said:

” HMP/YOI Moorland is a category C adult and young adult men’s resettlement prison situated near Doncaster. It was last inspected in February 2016, at which time it was still adapting to having been re-roled as a resettlement prison. There had also been a period of uncertainty prior to the last inspection as a result of the prison being earmarked for privatisation; a plan which was subsequently abandoned. In 2016 the prison was also suffering very badly from an influx of illicit drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances (NPS). This was causing daily medical emergencies and not enough was being done to stem the flow of drugs into the jail. At that time it was also made clear to the inspection team that the staff felt that the prison had been severely affected by the benchmarking process, leaving it desperately short of staff.

It was therefore heartening to see the progress that had been made in the past three years. In 2016 three of our healthy prison tests had been graded as ‘not sufficiently good’. In contrast, on this occasion we found three to be ‘reasonably good’, with increases in grading for safety and respect. Given the context in which prisons such as Moorland have been operating over the past few years, this is a significant achievement, and testament to a huge amount of hard work by all the leaders and staff at Moorland.

We found Moorland to be a very different prison from the one we inspected in 2016. Levels of violence had not only stabilised, but had actually decreased – clearly bucking the national trend over that period. However, despite the fact that overall levels of violence had dropped, assaults against staff had doubled and were higher than at similar prisons. There is still more to do to deal with violence, but the way in which it was now being analysed was positive, as was the support being offered to victims. The use of force by staff had increased since the last inspection, and recording was generally good, although some aspects of governance needed to improve.

Along with the reduction in violence, it was also notable that the prevalence of NPS seen at the last inspection has decreased. There was a comprehensive drug strategy and good work between the security department and substance misuse services.

It was concerning that levels of self-harm were very high, and in light of this it was disappointing that there were insufficient Listeners. One of our main recommendations from this inspection is around the need to analyse, understand and respond to whatever lies behind the high levels of self-harm.

Staff-prisoner relationships had improved considerably since the last inspection, and it was good to see that the keyworker scheme was being implemented. It was clear that this was having a positive impact on relationships. As in every prison where we see it happening, the introduction of in-cell telephones was an important development and beneficial in many ways.

 However, there was much work to be done to understand the equality monitoring data that indicated some poorer outcomes for prisoners with protected characteristics. There was a need for more consultation and better involvement of community groups who worked in equality and diversity. Our survey indicated adverse results for black and minority ethnic and disabled prisoners, and this needed to be understood.

The reintegration unit was, in principle, a good initiative, with perfectly sensible aspirations to manage poor behaviour, incentivise good behaviour and assist prisoners in locating back onto mainstream accommodation. However, at the time of the inspection there was still much work to be done to realise the full potential of the unit, and a more meaningful regime needed to be introduced from the moment prisoners were first located onto the unit.

The most serious concern we had was around the lack of effective public protection measures. The report gives detailed evidence of how these were lacking in too many ways, and it was unacceptable that high risk prisoners approaching release were not receiving the detailed consideration that their potential risk to the public should have demanded. Moorland has now been a resettlement prison for a number of years, and this whole area of responsibility, not only to the prisoners but also to the public, needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Overall, this was a good inspection, and although there were some vital areas where improvement was still needed, it was obvious that the findings of the last inspection had been taken seriously. Around two-thirds of our recommendations had been achieved, and this is more that we are used to seeing in recent times. I would urge the leadership and staff at Moorland not to feel defensive about some of the issues raised in this report, which some might interpret as criticism. It is the duty of HM Inspectorate of Prisons to report on what we see, and if there are shortcomings we will point them out, in the spirit of helping to secure further improvements through recommendations. This was a reassuring inspection, and shows what can be achieved even in difficult and testing times, but it would be unduly complacent not to acknowledge that further improvement is necessary and achievable.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM

April 2019

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons “

 Return to Moorland

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

  • HMP & YOI Moorland (1.55 MB), Report on an announced inspection of HMP & YOI Moorland (11-21 February 2019)
  • HMP/YOI Moorland,Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP/YOI Moorland (1 – 12 February 2016
  • HMP/YOI Moorland, Unannounced full follow-up inspection of HMP/YOI Moorland (3–7 December 2012)
  • HMP Moorland, Announced short follow-up inspection of HMP Moorland (29 November – 3 December 2010)
  • HMP/YOI Moorland, Unannounced short follow-up inspection of HMP/YOI Moorland (6–8 October 2008)
  • HMP/YOI Moorland, Announced inspection of HMP/YOI Moorland (12-16 December 2005

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