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200 Springfield Road Chelmsford Essex CM2 6LQ image of HMP-YOI CHELMSFORD prison

Phone No.

01245 552000

Governor / Director

Rob Davis


Male Cat. B and YOI


East of England

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy

Single and double

Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Nicholas Adams
Vice Chair: Graham Herbing & Diana Platts

Visitor Info Page

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Online Library documents for HMP-YOI CHELMSFORD

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Chelmsford is a category ‘B’ local and Young Offender Institution. The older part of the establishment houses four wings spurring off of a central hub: A wing is the segregation unit, B and C wings accommodate a mixed population, the majority young prisoners, and D wing houses vulnerable prisoners. The newer part of the prison has a 12-bed, 24-hour health care unit, E wing is for the integrated drug treatment system unit, F wing is the induction unit and G wing houses enhanced and older prisoners.

Built from 1830 onwards as the county jail, it has been used as a long term category B (prior to the introduction of the dispersal system), a young person's prison and a local prison since 1987.


The Every Step project at HMP Chelmsford has won the Offender Learning category of the BECTA Next Generation Learning Awards for 2010 has won a top award. 'Every Step' is a Colchester based organisation that helps prisoners in Chelmsford with literacy and numeracy skills


Two new houseblocks were opened in 1996 to relieve overcrowding.


There are 7 wings;

  • A Segregation unit and key workers
  • B Adult and young adults mixed status
  • C Adult and young adults mixed status
  • D Adult and young adults mixed status
  • E IDTS (integrated drug treatment system)
  • F Induction
  • G Enhanced and vulnerable prisoners


Reception criteria

Normal Reception arrangements for a Local Prison. HMP & YOI Chelmsford accepts prisoners direct from courts within its catchment area, adult males and Young Offenders, convicted or on Remand.



Hobbies kits (purchased through Argos)
In-cell power
Own bedding (Enhanced)

Own clothes
Playstation (Enhanced)
Television (£1 per week)

Remand prisoners can wear their own clothing as long as they have 2 sets.


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07:40 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 17:00


07:40 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 19:00


07:40 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 19:00


07:40 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 19:00


07:40 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 17:00


08:30 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 17:00


08:30 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 17:00


1 hour per day, Monday – Friday. 07.40-08.40 Domestic Time
45 minutes Mon – Thu: Dining Out at Lunch

Evening Association

Tue, Wed and Thu: 16.30 – 19.00

Weekend Association

2 hours each day with no Evening Association

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Circuit Training
Indoor Bowls
Light Circuit Training
Over 40s
Over 50s
Soft Tennis
Sports Field
Weight Loss Programme
Weight Training

The following courses are available through the Gym:

• Active IQ- Fitness Instructor Level 1 and 2
• Badminton Leaders
• British Weight Lifting Awards
• Community Rugby
• Community Sports Leaders Award
• FA Level 1 and 2 Certificate in Coaching Football
• First Aid at Work
• Manual Handling
• NVQ Sport and Recreation Level 1 and 2
• Volleyball Leaders

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Nine periods of 2,5 hours

Education - 2 x 1.5 hours


The Library is serviced by 'Essex Library'


The library stocks CDs and has a computer for legal research.


Also running in the Library:

  • Author’s Workshop
  • Healthcare – Support
  • Research and Reference Sessions
  • Story Book Dads
  • Story Time Learning Children Visit, educational
  • Toe by Toe

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Every prison has a Chaplaincy department managed by a Co-ordinating Chaplain and supported by admin staff, other Chaplains and ‘Sessional Chaplains’ (faith leaders who visit for specific services or sessions). The Chaplaincy is considered an important part of the prison structure. When a prisoner arrives at a prison they are usually seen by a Chaplain within 24 hours and are invited to register as a specific religion (if they haven’t already done so) and can change their declared religion at any time.

The Chaplaincy does far more than just pastoral care; they often are able to lend radios; they may take part in Sentence Planning and are available as a ‘listening ear’ and are able, sometimes, to help with domestic problems. Most Chaplaincies run various courses and activities which may or may not have a religious theme. Every prisoner has the right to follow their religious practices and attend Multi Faith room for services pertaining to their declared faith (even when segregated).

The Chaplaincy are able to organise faith activities for all main religions (as recognised by the Prison Service; this does not, at present include Rastafarian as a specific religion) and contact faith representatives to visit individual or groups of prisoners for the purpose of religious activities. The chaplaincy can also intercede on matters of religious dress, diet and artefacts. A full list of permitted artefacts can be found in the Glossary Section under Religious Artefacts.

You can contact the Chaplaincy by letter or by telephoning the main prison number and asking to speak to the Chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy works as part of the prison and cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality (they can explain this to you in detail). Prisoners can contact the Chaplaincy in person or by Application.

Chaplaincy Statement of Purpose (HMPS)
The Chaplaincy is committed to serving the needs of prisoners, staff and religious traditions by engaging all human experience. We will work collaboratively, respecting the integrity of each tradition and discipline. We believe that faith and the search for meaning directs and inspires life, and are committed to providing sacred spaces and dedicated teams to deepen and enrich human experience. We contribute to the care of prisoners to enable them to lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.

The Co-ordinating Chaplain at Chelmsford is: Tanvir Ahmed (Muslim)


Full-time Anglican Chaplain and 3 visiting Catholic and 1 Free Church Chaplain who regularly visit every week.


Facilities for other faiths including Mormon, Orthodox, Sikh, Hindu, Jehovah Witness and a Buddhist Chaplain.

Facilities are provided for other faith as required.
All faiths have a slot in the Multi-Faith Room for their respective services.

Activities run in the Chapel include;

  • Alpha Course
  • Bible Study
  • Islamic Studies
  • Living with Loss
  • Prayer Class
  • RC Doctrine



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Dentist Availability

2.5 days per week

Optician Availability

Twice a month

Physio Availability

By referral

Podiatry Availability

By referral

Stop Smoking Availability

Yes, self-referral


Daily, as required

InReach Availability


Prison Healthcare is now commissioned by NHS England:
NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT
Tel: 0300 311 22 33
Link: How to make a complaint:
Complaints about Healthcare should be made first through the formal internal complaints system
There are seven Commissioning Trusts for ‘Offender Health’
East Midlands
East of England
Kent & Medway
North East
South West
Thames Valley
Yorkshire & Humber
Healthcare at this prison is commissioned by:
East of England Health & Justice Commissioning
Primary Care Provider:
Care UK
Connaught House, 850 The Crescent, Colchester Business Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 9QB
Tel: 01206 752 552
Primary Healthcare
GP Sessions
Escorts & Bed Watches
Sexual Health
Other providers
The Atrium - Primary Mental Healthcare & substance misuse
North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - Secondary Mental Healthcare
North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - Psychiatry
North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - contract held by county council - Drug Treatment Services - IDTS
Westminster Drugs Project - Substance Misuse Psychosocial Service

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Milton Keynes College
Chaffron Way Centre, Chaffron Way, Leadenhall, Milton Keynes MK6 5LP
Tel: 01908 684444

Career Information & Advice Services (CIAS)
Tribal Education Ltd
Head office: 87-91 Newman Street, London W1T 3EY
Tel: 020 7323 7100

The college provides a broad curriculum including literacy, numeracy, information technology, art, barbering, journalism, cookery, ESOL and a wide range of social and life programs.


Classes include;


Basic Education

Business Start

Computer Studies








Life and Social Skills




Open University


Also: LearnDirect - IT

A reading initiative, Toe by Toe, is offered on the wings and peripatetic tutors visit the wings and workshops to support learning. Every prisoner has an initial assessment of ability on day two of entering the prison and a one to one interview with TRIBAL staff who offer information advice guidance.



OFSTED inspect education establishments from schools to colleges to prisons. They inspect education facilities within prisons and have inspected HMP-YOI Chelmsford

Last Inspection Date: 28/07/2011

To read their report click here

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Prison Workshops
Single Portion Packing

Employment includes;

  • Bricklaying
  • Catering
  • Gardening
  • Industrial Cleaning
  • IT - PICTA
  • Laundry
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Plumbing
  • Recycling
  • Sports Studies
  • TV PAT testing


Accredited qualifcations available include;

  • All City & Guilds Multi-Skills Level 1
  • NOCN - Gardening
  • QCF BICS Level 1
  • COPC Levels 1 - 3


Learning aims recorded for Skills Funding Agency OLASS

Adult Literacy
Adult Numeracy
Basic ESOL Course, Entry Level
Basic ESOL Course, Level 1
Basic Literacy Course, Entry Level
Basic Literacy Course, Level 1
Basic Literacy Course, Level 2
Basic Numeracy Course, Entry Level
Basic Numeracy Course, Level 1
Basic Numeracy Course, Level 2
Certificate for IT Users (CLAiT Plus)
Certificate for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Cleaning Operators' Proficiency Certificate
Construction Skills Certification Scheme
Diploma for IT Users (CLAiT Plus)
Diploma for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Introductory Basic Construction Skills
Non-externally certificated - Entry Level, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
Non-externally certificated - Entry Level, Health, Public Services and Care (SSA 1), PW B
Non-externally certificated - Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
Non-externally certificated - Entry Level, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW C
Non-externally certificated - Level 1, Construction, Planning and the Built Environment (SSA 5), PW C
Non-externally certificated - Level 1, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
NQF - Level 1, Construction, Planning and the Built Environment (SSA 5), PW A
NQF - Level 1, Construction, Planning and the Built Environment (SSA 5), PW C
NQF - Level 1, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
NQF - Level 1, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW C
NQF - Level 2, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
NQF - Level 2, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW C
OCN Entry Level, PW A, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Entry Level, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Entry Level, PW C, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7)
OCN Level 1, PW A, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 1, PW A, Health, Public Services and Care (SSA 1)
OCN Level 1, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 1, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 1, PW E, Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care (SSA 3)
OCN Level 2, PW A, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 2, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 2, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 2, PW C, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7)
OCN Level 2, PW E, Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care (SSA 3)
OCN Level 3, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 3, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
Understanding Business Enterprise Activities (QCF)
Unitisation (approved external qualification) Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14) - ESOL
Unitisation (approved external qualification) Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14) - Literacy

Vocational study not leading to a recognised qualification, Health, Public Services and Care (SSA 1)


Current wage for employed

£8 - £13.75

Wage for retired / long term sick




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Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS)


Short Duration Programme (SDP)

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HIAS contract awarded to Nacro to secure accommodation on release (retain or relinquish on entry to custody). Nacro also run a Tenancy Awareness course once a month


ELS contract awarded to Nacro to secure employment or education/training on release.


Job Deal

(ESF/NOMS contract) awarded to Serco (subcontracted to Seetec) to secure employment/training for those in Essex via referral into mainstream provision. Both deliver by 1:1 specific appointments and engage with employers/providers in the community.


CIAS contract awarded to Tribal to deliver IAG through custody and referrals to IAG on release. JCP conducts job searches via their Labour Market System and refers to JCP provision on release (eg New Deal). Business Link deliver a Business Start-up awareness session once a month.


Debt: F2F Debt contract awarded to Saxon Citizens Advice Bureau to deliver 1:1 appointments for anyone with debt concerns, and a Money Matters course once a month to up skill prisoners in managing their finances. Via the Nacro ELS contract prisoners are able to apply for photo ID (citizenship card) and a bank account on release.


JCP close benefits on entry to custody and ensure anyone needing benefits on release is booked an appointment. JCP also help with social fund applications.

Children+ Families

Ormiston Trust facilitate monthly childrens’ visits and run a You + Your Child OCN accredited course 4 times per year. Resettlement, Mudpies and Essex Libraries jointly delivery the Story Time Learning intervention to promote healthy relationships through learning.

External Organisations who help/participate in Resettlement Activities
Nacro (HIAS), Nacro (ELS), Seetec, Tribal, JCP, Business Link, Serco, Citizens Advice Bureau, Mudpies, Ormiston Trust, WDP – Inside out, Samaritans, Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, National Treatment Agency, Milton Keynes College, Skills Funding Agency and Chelmsford Prison Visitors Centre Charity.

There is a dedicated Resettlement Centre that acts as a ‘one stop shop’ for all resettlement needs. It is a central point of information, signposting or direct programs/interventions.

Most key resettlement agencies are permanently based within the Resettlement Centre (with others delivering their services there).


There are 3 set interventions that every prisoner will be asked to attend; which are Induction, Resettlement Review, and Resettlement Discharge clinic. All 3 are multi-agency and a chance for the prisoners to address any concerns or outline actions needed with all agencies covering all 7 pathways at one time – creating one plan for one prisoner.


ROTL opportunities for resettlement: Forklift truck licence course at ALT in Witham. Work experience at Fitness First, outside gardens and cleaning work experience (outside grounds of HMP Chelmsford), cleaning at Visitors Centre, visits to family to maintain family ties and we are in the early stages of securing work placements at 2 local window fabricator companies for general labour and training.


Agencies working within the prison include:

  • A4e
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Anglia Guidance
  • Business Link
  • Carats/Inside Out
  • Chelmsford Prisons Visitor Centre Trust
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • ClearSprings
  • DAT
  • DePaul Trust
  • FTC
  • JobCentre Plus
  • Learn Direct
  • Milton Keynes College
  • Mothers Union - Mudpies
  • NACRO – Employment Learning and Skills
  • NACRO – Housing Information Advice service
  • Next Step
  • Ormiston Trust
  • Princes Trust
  • Samaritans
  • Serco and Seetec – Job deal
  • Sova
  • St Giles Trust
  • Switch Back Project
  • Tribal


Family Days Available


Guardian Has To Stay


Own Children




Age Limits

Babies and children up to 16

No of Visitors Permitted

One adult with a reasonable number of children

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Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for this prison: 3
This is on a scale from 1 (serious concerns) to 4 (Exceptional) and is worked out by the Ministry of Justice taking into account 34 criteria such as overcrowding, purposeful activities etc. A score of 3 is considered a good performance. Published quarterly.

Average weekly hours of Purposeful Activity: 22.8 (2010)
This figure is supplied by each prison to the Prison Service. Actual hours are usually dependent on activities etc. and should be taken as the maximum time either in workshops or education over a whole week.
Both of these figures are published retrospectively by the MoJ and HMPS and may have changed since the figures were published but they give a simple comparison between prisons.


Annual Budget: £16,600,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £39,200
*The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.

Parliamentary Information
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Simon Burns (Conservative)

Prisoners may write to either their ‘Home MP’ or the MP in whose constituency their current prison lies.
The address to write to is:
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA



Most prisons now have PIN phones. Your relative or friend usually needs to apply to have your name and number on his/her telephone account. You will usually receive a call from the prison to check who you are and to ensure you are happy for them to call you. Prisoners cannot receive telephone calls.

There is no restriction on who prisoners can call except in the case of calls to journalists intended to be broadcast. In some cases child protection measures may mean extra checks on who they call.

Prisoners can normally make calls only during ‘association’ periods. Some prisons limit the length of time a call can last to avoid queues and people being disappointed. Prisoners’ telephone calls are very expensive; calls to landlines now cost 10p per minute and 37.5 p to mobiles (compared to 2p in a public phone box). In most prisons the phone calls can be listened to and/or recorded.

If a prisoner is newly convicted or transferred they should be offered an immediate ‘Reception’ phone call to tell you where they are. It may take a few days for numbers to be transferred or added.

When you write to a prisoner you must include your full name and address. In most prisons the letters are searched and can be read before being given to the prisoner.

You can write about anything but letters must not be obscene, name ‘victims’, or be a threat to discipline or security. Do not enclose any items with letters. Make sure you put sufficient postage to cover the costs (anything bigger than A5 counts as ‘large’). Prisoners can normally receive a ‘reasonable’ number of letters per week.

If you send greetings cards these should be of reasonable size and not padded or pouched. Do not send musical cards. If you are sending more than one card put them all inside one outer envelope, this saves postage. Remember to include your full details (you could put your details on a ‘Post-It’ note stuck to the card or include a letter which has your details).

Always put the prisoner’s full name and prison number. If the person has been moved their mail will be forwarded.

On conviction or transfer a prisoner should be given a ‘Reception’ letter to write to tell you where they are.

Prisoners are given a free letter each week to post out, they can send more, but at their own expense. Some prisons allow you to send in stamps.

You can usually send in photographs but in some prisons these must not include any image of the prisoner. Child protection measures may mean that some prisoners may not receive pictures of children, unless they are their own and were not ‘victims’. If you send pictures of children include an explanatory note identifying who the children are and their relationship to the prisoner.

It is not a good idea to send cash, this can get ‘lost’ in the prison. Prisons prefer postal orders, but you could send a cheque. Make these payable to ‘H M Prison Service’, write your name on the back and also the prisoner’s full name and prison number. Any money sent which is deemed to be ‘anonymous’ can be stopped.
Money you send is paid into the prisoner’s ‘Private Cash’ account and they get access to a certain amount (depending upon IEP) each week [currently £15.50 for Standard prisoners].

For full information about visits please refer to our ‘Visit Info’ section for this prison. Visits are very important to prisoners. At most prisons you may not give any item to the prisoner. Any items you wish to give them must usually be posted to the prison, and often after the prisoner has placed an ‘application’ for authorisation to have it sent in. The items which can be posted in are very limited. Check with the prisoner first and wait until they confirm that you can post it.

If there is a serious emergency - close family serious illness, death, or other reason you need to inform the prisoner immediately, you should telephone the main prison number and explain the problem to the operator who will transfer you to the appropriate person. If you are unhappy about their response redial and ask to speak to the Chaplaincy. Prison staff will not pass on general messages but only critical and very urgent messages. You should provide full details of the prisoner including their number.

Support and Advice
There are many very good charities and agencies who offer support and advice to people with family or friends in prison. We have a special section ‘Help/Support’ which has details and contact information for many of these. Do not hesitate or feel shy about calling any of these; they are there to offer support and advice.

This service operates at this prison. Email a Prisoner enables you to send messages to prisoners, in the UK and Irish prisons that operate the service, from any computer, without any of the hassles of writing and posting a letter, and it costs less than a second class stamp!

Your message is delivered to the prison within seconds so that it can be delivered to the prisoner by the prison staff in the next delivery.

It is free to sign up to Email a Prisoner and only takes a few seconds - all you need is an email address (EMaP can help you if you don't have an email address).

Once a member you will be able to send a message to any prisoner in the UK or Ireland, provided you know their prisoner number, from just 25 pence per message.

Click Here for link to Email a Prisoner website


Story Book Dads/Mums
Story Book Dads/Mums operates at this prison.
The imprisoned parent records a story and a message which is then edited and enhanced using digital audio software and editors remove mistakes and add sound effects and music. Finally a CD is made, a personalised cover created, and the finished disc sent to the child. The whole service is free.

Click Here for more information


Prison Video Link (PVL)
All prisons with video link facilities have at least one courtroom and two briefing rooms where the defendant can hold a conference with their solicitor before and, if required, after their court hearing.

If court hearings are not taking place it may be possible for solicitors, barristers and Probation Officers to hold interviews with a prisoner via video link to save having to visit the prison.

The facility is also available to assist the Parole Board in dealing with oral hearings.

It should be noted however that court hearings must take priority.

At other times, operational reasons may mean bookings are refused or cancelled at short notice.

To book the Video Link facility telephone: 01245 272000 ext 2242

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP)

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons for England and Wales (HMI Prisons) is an independent inspectorate which reports on conditions for, and treatment of, those in prisons, young offender institutions and immigration detention facilities. They provide independent scrutiny of the conditions for and treatment of prisoners and other detainees, promoting the concept of 'healthy prisons' in which staff work effectively to support prisoners and detainees to reduce reoffending or achieve other agreed outcomes.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) is appointed from outside the Prison Service, for a term of five years. The Chief Inspector reports to Ministers on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons in England and Wales.

The Inspectorate’s programme of inspection is based on a mixture of chronology and risk assessment. Full inspections run on a five or three year cycle; all unannounced follow-up inspections run on a risk-assessed basis.

Full inspections
Prison establishments holding adults and young adults are inspected once every five years. Establishments holding juveniles are inspected every three years. This type of inspection lasts for at least one week. The Inspectorate collects information from many sources, including the people who work there, the people who are imprisoned or detained there, and visitors or others with an interest in the establishment. Inspection findings are reported back to the establishment’s managers. Reports are published within 16 weeks of inspection. The establishment is then expected to produce an action plan, based on the recommendations made within the report, within a short period following publication.

Full follow-up inspections
Follow-up inspections are unannounced and proportionate to risk. In full follow-up inspections inspectors assess progress made and undertake in-depth analysis of areas of serious concern identified in the previous full inspection, particularly on safety and respect.

Short follow-up inspections
Short follow-up inspections are also unannounced and conducted where the previous full inspection and their intelligence systems suggest that there are comparatively fewer concerns.

Escort inspections
Three escort inspections are conducted every year.

Pre-inspection visit
One month prior to each full announced inspection, an inspector will visit the establishment to plan the inspection and request a range of preliminary information. In addition, researchers will attend to conduct a confidential survey of a representative proportion of the prisoner population. Results from the prisoner survey are provided for inspectors prior to the inspection and constitute an important source of evidence.

The inspection
All inspections are conducted against the Inspectorate's published inspection criteria, 'Expectations'. Expectations' are based on international human rights standards, as well as Prison Service Orders and Standards, and over all issues considered essential to the safe, respectful and purposeful treatment of prisoners in custody and their effective resettlement.
'Expectations' is the document which sets out the detailed criteria HMI Prisons uses to appraise and inspect prisons. These criteria are used to examine every area of prison life, from reception to resettlement, including;

• safer custody
• health services
• good order
• work
• diversity
• resettlement

The concept of a healthy prison is one that was first set out by the World Health Organisation, but it has been developed by this Inspectorate, and is now widely accepted as a definition of what ought to be provided in any custodial environment. It rests upon four key tests:

• safety: prisoners, even the most vulnerable, are held safely
• respect: prisoners are treated with respect for their human dignity
• purposeful activity: prisoners are able, and expected, to engage in activity that is likely to benefit them
• resettlement: prisoners are prepared for release into the community, and helped to reduce the likelihood of reoffending

Post-inspection action
Inspection reports are published within 16 weeks of the inspection. Prior to publication, the Prison Service (or whoever is responsible for the establishment) is invited to correct any factual inaccuracies within the report. The establishment is then expected to produce an action plan, based on the recommendations made in the report, within two months of publication. A progress report on the action plain is produced after a further 12 months.


Last Inspection by HMCIP: 16 – 20 May 2011 - Announced inspection
Report Dated: July 2011
Published: September 2011

They said:
“Chelmsford is a local prison serving the courts of Essex and London, with a transient population of remanded and sentenced adult and young adult prisoners. In recent years, there has been extensive new building on the site but frequent recent inspections have been heavily critical of the prison, not least its inability to develop a progressive culture to suit its improving environment. It is therefore impressive that this announced inspection found that the prison and its approach had in many ways been transformed.

“ Chelmsford has to manage an enormous range of risks and needs, including some challenging young adults and the full panoply of substance abusers, the mentally ill and prolific offenders who populate most local prisons. It is therefore commendable that the prison was now an essentially safe place. Early days were well managed, with good use of prisoner peer supporters. Incidents of violence, particularly among young adults, remained high but had begun to reduce and violence reduction arrangements were excellent. For example, many staff had received specific training in recognising and reducing aggressive behaviour among young adults, which was an example of good practice that we rarely see.

“ Our previous concerns about the governance of use of force and the segregation unit had largely been addressed, although the unit’s environment remained poor. Vulnerable prisoners and those at risk of self-harm were generally well cared for, although recording on self-harm prevention documentation required improvement. Security procedures were sound and levels of illicit drug use were relatively low. Detoxification and drug treatment had improved with the arrival of the integrated drug treatment system.

“ The environment varied from grim Victorian accommodation to light, bright newer wings, but levels of cleanliness were generally good across the prison. Staff-prisoner relationships were much improved, supported by excellent communication arrangements and good use of prisoners to represent and support particular groups. Diversity was well promoted and the chaplaincy had a central role in the life of the prison. Health care was generally reasonable, although medicines management required improvement.

“ Prisoners at Chelmsford received more time out of cell than at many comparable prisons. Activity places had increased – although more were needed – and arrangements to allocate prisoners appropriately and ensure attendance had improved. Learning and skills provision was well managed, with good education provision for the less able and some excellent opportunities to gain vocational qualifications, although there remained little for the more able learner and too few accredited activities. The library and PE were both very good. Chelmsford had developed some innovative approaches to resettlement, with an excellent resettlement centre and some good support for prisoners to find employment, training or education on release, address substance misuse and maintain family ties. However, some aspects of the strategic management of resettlement required further development and custody planning for the many short term prisoners remained disjointed.

“ Over recent years, the Inspectorate has raised concerns about treatment and conditions at Chelmsford and about the prison’s inability to shrug off a negative and outdated culture. As a result, we have returned frequently and repeatedly recommended improvements. It is therefore hugely reassuring to find a senior management and staff group that has – at last – risen to the challenge and fundamentally improved the prison. As in any busy local prison many challenges remain, but Chelmsford is now an exemplar of the improvements that even a troubled prison can achieve with strong leadership, staff commitment and clear values.”

Nick Hardwick July 2011
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Click Here to read the full report


Independent Monitoring Board

By law every prison and immigration removal centre must have an Independent Monitoring Board. IMBs in prisons derive their responsibilities from the Prison Act 1952 (Section 6). Prison Rules dealing with IMBs are numbers; 74 to 80

IMBs were known as ‘Boards of Visitors’ and are still referred to in the legislation under their old titles, although this is likely to change in the near future.

The Independent Monitoring Board for each establishment is made up of independent and unpaid volunteers from the local area. They monitor the day-to-day life in the establishment and ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Members have unrestricted access to all areas of the prison at all times and can talk to any prisoner they wish, out of sight and hearing of a members of staff. They visit all areas such as; kitchens, workshops, accommodation blocks, recreation areas, healthcare centre and chaplaincy.

If a prisoner or detainee has an issue that they have been unable to resolve through the usual internal channels, they can place a confidential request to see a member of the IMB. Problems might include concerns over lost property, visits from family or friends, special religious or cultural requirements, or even serious allegations such as bullying. In addition, if something serious happens at the prison, for example a riot or a death in custody, IMB members may be called in to attend and observe the way in which it is handled.

IMB members sample food, can attend adjudications and should visit people held in the segregation unit. They must also be kept informed on such issues as the use of restraints.

The IMB meets regularly, usually once per month, and has an elected Chair and Vice Chair. Members work together as a team to raise any matters of concern and to keep an independent eye on the prison.


CLICK HERE - to read the latest IMB reports for any prison.
Click on the year and then select the prison.

Information in this section has been kindly provided by the individual prison and the Ministry of Justice. This is supplemented with information from various government websites, Inspectorates and IMB reports and specialist departments within the Prison Service, government, and regional assemblies/parliaments.
Some of the data is published retrospectively: IMBs/Visiting Committees publish their reports up to 6 months after the end of the reporting period and at different times throughout the year, HMCIP publish their reports up to 6 months after the inspection. Population and performance figures are the latest published but can be considerably out of date.
Please Note: Information is constantly changing: The information on our website is regularly checked but if you have additional information, or if you believe that any of our information is incorrect or any links appear to fail please click on ‘Contact’, below.
Before acting upon any information you are advised to contact the prison directly to ensure there have been no recent changes.
Last Update: January 2014


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Issue : December 2014

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December 2014 Headlines
> Treat Prisoners as Human Beings, Not Criminals
> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the governmentís Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didnít do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - donít let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
> Christmas Messages

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