Prisoners are treated with respect by staff.
4.1 Relationships between staff and prisoners are good.
4.2 Staffing and Prisoners. Despite the pressures of a constantly fluctuating and overcrowded population staff act professionally, usually call prisoners by their first name or prefix their surname with Mr.
4.3 Feedback. Feedback from prisoner groups and observations by inspectors also indicate that relationships are good. The last three SPS Prisoner Surveys indicate that between 86% and 91% of prisoners get on well or very well with staff.
4.4 Feedback from new staff as well as prisoners confirmed that staff members are approachable and are helpful.
4.5 Complaints. Out of 1,475 complaints last year only 40 were connected with relationships.
Equality and Diversity
4.6 Processes. An Equality and Diversity Committee meeting is held quarterly. This is attended by the Governor, senior management team and a prisoner representative. The minutes of these meetings are available on the local SharePoint site.
4.7 Staffing. On the day of inspection there were no dedicated equality and diversity staff identified but plans were in place to recruit three from each Hall. A unit manager and Links Centre staff currently co-ordinate activity to ensure standards are met.
4.8 Matters concerning foreign nationality, disability, race relations, gender issues and specific ethnic needs are currently being monitored by the manager responsible for equality and diversity standards.
4.9 Information. All of the important induction, health, regime and visits information booklets were available in at least three different languages. During induction, prisoners are also given information about Prison Rules, how to make a complaint and how to make a request in at least three different languages. There is also a FAQ handout available. Translators are available if required.
4.10 Complaints. Racial discrimination is governed by national policy and there were no racial complaints for the year so far.
4.11 Services. The library stocks foreign language books. Foreign national input is encouraged for the setting of meal plans via the equality and diversity committee.
4.12 Special Care. The bottom floor of most Halls is used for prisoners who need special care. A cell for disabled prisoners is also located on the bottom floor of each Hall.
4.13 None of the prisoners located in any of the disabled cells understood what a Personal Evacuation Plan was, nor did any of the staff questioned. Personal evacuation plans should become standard practice for disabled prisoners.
Staff & Official Visitors
4.14 Phase 1 of a series of proposed improvements to staff and official visitor searching procedures had been in place for just over a month at the time of inspection. These particular changes involved the introduction of additional front-end security measures which included the re-location of the x-ray equipment; the redeployment of some staff to the vestibule to operate x-ray equipment during peak staff flow periods; the requirement for staff to remove their outer garments and present their identification cards on every occasion they enter the establishment; and for one in ten members of staff or official visitors to be subject to a rub down search or a wand. The rub-down search area is appropriate and staff undertaking the search were seen to be respectful. Small lockable, wall mounted receptacles have also been installed within the vestibule area in which visitors may leave their mobile telephones. The records examined showed an increase in the number of staff and official visitor searches from 55 in January this year to 180 during the period 1 st to 23 rd May 2011. The staff searching policy is on display and is also widely available on the local SharePoint site.
4.15 All prisoners' visitors are subject to a rub-down search. These searches were observed taking place both outside and inside the visit rooms but in all cases, in full view of other visitors. This practice should be discontinued. Overall the standard of prisoners' visitors searching observed was poor. Arrangements are in place for fuller searches to take place by the Police in a more appropriate area should it be necessary. An ION scanner is in place but no longer used to detect if visitors have been in contact with drugs prior to presenting at the establishment for a visit.
4.16 Searching of prisoners prior to movement between different areas of the prison takes place and all searches of this nature which were observed were carried out respectfully. Area searching observed was conducted in a methodical manner. Staff reported that when the prisoner population increases, the regime takes longer to operate and that, in turn has a negative impact on the quality of some processes including searching.