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: 26.3 (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.
CONSTITUENCY: Salford and Eccles
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Hazel Blears (Labour)
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.
In general prisoners phone calls follow the same rules as for letters in as far as who can be contacted and what can be said. If the rules are broken the prison may terminate the call.
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 send stamped address envelopes (address to yourself), for the prisoner to reply, to any prisoner in any prison.
Prisoners are not allowed to send you letters or information to be posted on social networking internet sites.
Remember all letters are opened and checked and may be read.
Full information about prisoners’ correspondence can be found in Prison Service Instruction 2011-006
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. Enclose a letter detailing who the PO/Cheque is for and who it is from.
Postal Orders; Make these payable to 'The Governor' and write the prisoner's full name and number plus your own name and address on the reverse.
Cheques: Make these payable to 'The Governor' and write the prisoner's full name and number on the reverse, plus your name and address.
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]. Include your full detail in an accompanying letter or note. It takes about a week for the money to be credited to the prisoner.
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.
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: 0161 925 7000 ext 2061
Voluntary Drug Testing
Detox – (the unit runs in parallel with the normal prison induction to support prisoners coming off drugs and assist their integration into the establishment)
CARATS - The CARATS Contract is with Compass/South Trafford Health Authority and provides 4 full time Drugs Workers and a Manager.
Reduction in supply - in addition the prison has 2 passive drug dogs and CCTV in Visits.
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.
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.
Three escort inspections are conducted every year.
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.
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
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
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: 29 June–9 July 2010 - unannounced full follow-up
Report Dated: September 2010
Published: 9th November 2010
“ The full unannounced follow-up inspection of HMP Forest Bank took place from 29 June to 9 July this year before I formally took up my appointment. The inspection took place during the tenure of my predecessor, Dame Anne Owers, but I attended the inspection as an observer. HMP Forest Bank is a category B local prison for adult and young adult men. At the time of the inspection, Forest Bank was operating under its full operational capacity of 1,424 prisoners. The prison is run under a 25-year private finance initiative by Kalyx.
“ Forest Bank is a good local prison and a number of improvements were evident since our last inspection.
“ Forest Bank predominantly serves the Greater Manchester area and 75% of the prisoners come from within an 18-mile radius of the prison. The prison has made good use of this and engaged energetically with a range of community partners to assist prisoners to resettle successfully on release. Community links are impressive, public protection procedures were good and work across most of the resettlement pathways was well developed although lacking in some coordination and integration. Resettlement activity would benefit by being underpinned by a more effective analysis of actual prisoner need, informing a more considered strategic approach and the more integrated delivery or services.
“ For a local prison, prisoners spend a good amount of time out of their cells. The quality of education, training, employment and other activities was generally good – work in the kitchens and the employer-led employment initiatives were particularly impressive – but there was simply not enough available. Most prisoners could access an activity place but many were only part time. So although 88% of prisoners could access some form of activity our roll check found about half the prison population locked in their cells during the working day.
“ The prison has had to deal with the challenge of completing a major building programme. This has included new wing blocks that provide a good standard of accommodation – the older wings were less satisfactory.
“ The standard of health care has improved. Developing work to support veterans with posttraumatic stress is an interesting initiative and should be encouraged. There has been excellent integration of drug services. The random mandatory drug testing (MDT) rate for the six months to May 2010 was quoted as about 9.6% although the figure ranges from 1.4% to 13.9% suggesting spikes in the availability of drugs in the prison.
“ Work on diversity is developing with the appointment of an enthusiastic equality and inclusion officer. The work is still too focused on race equality issues only but is developing to include other diversity strands. However, the prison should be alert to the much more negative perceptions of the prison from black and minority ethnic prisoners than their white counterparts, investigate this further and give priority to any appropriate action identified. There are some elements of the regime that remain negative. There is too much evidence of 'unofficial' punishments. Closed visits are imposed too often and without appropriate justification. The segregation or 'care and separation unit' was in poor condition and governance should be strengthened.
“ A number of prisoners talked to us about 'sheeting' and these were incidents that the prison had recorded on a number of occasions. A prison officer on a wing described it to us as 'horseplay'. A very vulnerable young man who spoke to us described it as him being tied up inside a duvet cover and ‘battered’ every night. Prison management had limited knowledge of it. We are satisfied this does occur and needs to be stopped.
“ However, it is important to stress that for most prisoners, Forest Bank is a safe prison. The findings of our survey were that most prisoners felt safer than in similar establishments. But we were concerned that for a small minority of prisoners, it was not at all safe and in some cases prison officers on the wings had a passive attitude to bullying and unexplained injuries – however good the policies.”
Nick Hardwick September 2010
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Click here to read the full report
by HMCIP: September 2007 (Unannounced Full Inspection)
“Forest Bank is a contracted-out local prison in Salford, run by Kalyx. Its first inspection, in 2002, was relatively positive, though it lacked sufficient activity. A follow-up inspection in 2005, however, recorded significant concerns about safety, including the availability of illicit drugs.
“This inspection found that safety had improved, and that overall Forest Bank was not an unsafe prison. However, some weaknesses remained, such as the arrangements for prisoners’ first night in the prison and the management of bullying, which young adults in particular reported to be a problem. Though commendably robust efforts were being made to reduce the supply of drugs, this remained a serious concern, masked by the unreliability of the prison’s mandatory drug testing procedures. It was likely that in reality around 20% of tests were positive, and half the prisoners surveyed said that it was easy to obtain drugs. The weakness of the drug detoxification arrangements was not likely to reduce demand.
“Vulnerable prisoners were located next to identified bullies and those on the basic regime, where they were exposed to abuse, and had no access to education. We were also concerned to find some disproportionate and unjustifiable elements of the prison’s disciplinary procedures: such as the imposition of closed visits on some segregated prisoners, and a basic regime which could be as punitive as segregation, without its safeguards. Use of force, however, was low: though it had been used to strip and relocate self-harming prisoners.
“Relationships between staff and prisoners were in general good and appropriate, and staff engaged well with prisoners - though prisoners found them to be inexperienced and inconsistent. All aspects of the environment, the food, and basic hygiene and cleanliness, were good. Race relations were well-managed and, unusually, black and minority ethnic prisoners surveyed did not in general report worse experiences than white prisoners: though the responses from Muslim prisoners were much more negative. Other aspects of diversity, and the management of foreign nationals, were much less well-developed.
“Healthcare was unacceptably poor, with staff shortages and some unsafe reception screening and pharmaceutical practices. Primary care, including primary mental healthcare, was weak, and inpatients had a very limited regime. Secondary mental healthcare was, however, reasonably good.
“For a local prison, Forest Bank provided good periods of time out of cell and purposeful activity – though considerably less of both than it was reporting. Efforts had been made to link work and training to realistic employment possibilities, in partnership with outside agencies, and to provide vocational qualifications. There was a good range of education courses, including a number of short accredited courses suitable for the prison’s largely short-stay population. Nevertheless, 40% of prisoners were unemployed; and on one day we found 650 prisoners, nearly 60% of the population, locked in their cells. Our assessment on this occasion reflected the quality and effective management of activities; but when we return we will expect to see significant improvements in the quantity provided.
“Resettlement was an area of considerable strength, with a focus throughout the prison on reducing reoffending. Excluded from the north-west area strategy, Forest Bank had developed some innovative local partnerships: including one with the local authority, which offered both jobs and housing to prisoners who had achieved construction qualifications; and a scheme with the Co-operative bank for prisoners to open bank accounts while in prison. Links had been developed with local employers and colleges, and only 4% of prisoners had left without accommodation. A well-resourced offender management unit had recently begun work and HMP sentence planning was up to date. Work with indeterminate-sentenced prisoners was, however, underdeveloped and lifers could spend two years at the prison without undertaking any relevant work towards parole.
“Forest Bank has made commendable and imaginative progress in resettlement, largely on its own initiative, and has developed a relevant range of education, work and training. These are considerable strengths in a local prison, focusing on reducing reoffending. However, there were also some weaknesses. There were not enough activities for its expanded population. The availability of drugs remained of concern, and it will be important to gain an accurate picture of the scale of the problem in order to continue to tackle both supply and demand effectively. Violence reduction strategies and the support for vulnerable prisoners also needed improvement. The other major weakness was healthcare, and urgent action is needed to raise the service to an acceptable standard. Kalyx and the prison’s managers will need to ensure that these fundamental issues are addressed as firmly and positively as the resettlement agenda has been.”
Anne Owers December 2007
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: March 2012