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: 27.7 (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: £14,300,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £61,821
*The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Mary Creagh (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.
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.
EMAIL A PRISONER
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: 029201924 844200 ext 4532
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:
31 January–10 February 2012 Unannounced full follow-up inspection
Published: August 2012
Considerable improvements since the last inspection
“HMP New Hall is a closed local women’s prison that, at the time of this inspection, held about 350 women aged 18 to 69, and two babies. There was a small YOI for young women attached to the prison that we inspect and report on separately.
“ Our last inspection in 2008 found that the prison had improved but that there was plenty of scope for further improvement. This inspection found that considerable improvement had taken place and the prison now provided good or reasonably good outcomes for the women it held.
“ Women told us they felt much safer in the prison than before, and the proportion who had ever felt unsafe was now lower than in comparable establishments. This, in part, was due to much better reception and first night procedures with a more supportive and welcoming environment. Women were, however, still transported to the prison in partitioned vehicles shared with men, and some told us they had been harassed on the journey. Once at the prison, there was little bullying or violence.
“ There was now good mental health provision. The mental health team supported about a third of the total prison population, just over quarter of whom had complex problems. Commendably, almost nine in 10 uniformed officers had been trained in how to support prisoners with mental health problems and this was the highest level of training we have seen. The drug treatment system responded effectively to a high level of need. Better levels of safety, good mental health provision and better drug treatment all contributed to a significant reduction in self-harm and the number of women on suicide and self-harm procedures since the last inspection.
“ Senior officers had led a major drive to improve staff-prisoner relationships since the last inspection and the relationships were much improved. Significantly more women than at the last inspection said staff treated them with respect and more than at comparable prisons said they had a member of staff they could turn to with a problem. Equality and diversity work was satisfactory but over-dependent on an effective diversity officer rather than being embedded in the prison as a whole. A significant minority of women told us they were of Gypsy, Romany or Traveller origin and there was little provision for them. The external environment was generally clean and tidy and we were pleased to see that dormitories were no longer used. However, some women shared very small cells designed for one with inadequately screened toilets and insufficient furniture.
“ The mother and baby unit was an excellent facility but, like units elsewhere, it was underused. It was not clear whether this was an administrative problem or due to lack of demand. Prison staff continued to wear uniforms on the unit which was unnecessary and, as we have seen elsewhere, one male member of staff was in sole charge at night, which was unacceptable.
“ Women had a reasonable amount of time out of their cells each day and there was plenty of good quality activity. Provision was focused on employability and was now better organised to meet the needs of women with short sentences. The range of activities met the needs of women with different levels of ability. An excellent workshop prepared women to work in Max Spielman photography shops with very good employment prospects.
“ There was good offender management. Women who were high risk, prolific offenders or serving indeterminate sentences were well managed. There was a prompt, basic custody screen for women serving short sentences which identified their resettlement needs, but this needed to be more effectively followed up. The prison’s needs analysis had identified that two out of five women did not have a discharge address. Despite good efforts to resolve this, 12% of women left the prison without a fixed address. The prison worked closely with community based services to support the high proportion of women with drug and alcohol problems on release. The prison’s needs analysis identified that 38% of women had experienced emotional abuse, 46% physical abuse and 38% sexual abuse or rape. Twenty-one per cent of women said they had worked in the sex trade. The prison worked with community women’s groups to address these issues but its own resources were adequate to meet the level of need.
“ Although for most women New Hall provided much improved outcomes, there was a smaller number whose treatment required significant improvement. Segregation and health care were managed together under the umbrella of ‘custodial care integrated services’, but we saw little evidence that they were effectively integrated. Responses to women whose behaviour caused concern were excessively punitive with too little attempt to tackle the underlying causes. Women on open suicide and self-harm prevention procedures (ACCTs) were sometimes placed on the basic level of the incentives and earned privileges scheme with the consequences for their vulnerabilities too readily dismissed. Special accommodation was seldom used but when it was women were routinely placed in strip clothing. Women who were forcibly strip-searched had their clothing cut off them. Although the environment of the segregation unit had improved the regime was very restrictive. Some of the most damaged women were placed there for ‘good order and discipline’ but efforts to address the causes of their distress and manage their behaviour constructively were inadequate.
“ Some adjudications were poorly conducted with findings of guilt not supported by the evidence recorded. Punishments were excessive and cellular confinement was used too often; in other instances, prisoners lost all privileges, which amounted to cellular confinement but without the safeguards that would normally be required. Use of force was generally appropriate and was often to prevent women from harming themselves. However, we also identified incidents where the use of force was neither necessary nor proportionate. One woman who arrived from another prison and refused to hand over clothes she had been allowed there was held down and they were forcibly cut off her; a manager’s approval was not obtained and there was no attempt to resolve the issue in other ways.
“ The positive drug testing rate was within target but many women said drugs were easy to obtain and a more strategic response to reducing supply was required. Diverted medication was a problem and the prison had recognised that supervision of medication administration needed to be improved. There was a real risk to the safety of women on methadone treatment who also used other opiates and it was a concern that the clinical drugs team was not alerted when women tested positive for opiates in addition to their prescribed medication.
“ Just under 10% of the population were young adults aged 18 to 21. There was little attempt to identify and meet their specific needs, yet girls under 18 in the YOI attached to the prison received high levels of age-appropriate support. The needs of these young women did not suddenly change when they became 18 and needed greater consideration.
“ Visits and family contact is particularly important in a women’s prison. At the time of the inspection, funding for the valuable family support worker was at risk. The visits centre and hall were reasonable environments but the visits centre closed too early and the booking system was unsatisfactory. We observed visits that began late and finished early. Women prisoners had to wear a reflective sash which was an unnecessary humiliation for those being visited by their children. Separation visits, when women had a last chance to say farewell to their children who were being taken for adoption, sometimes unacceptably took place in public in the visits hall during main visit periods.
“ Overall New Hall has improved. Despite a constantly changing population with high levels of need, most women are held safely and respectfully and given effective help to return to the community without reoffending. However, the treatment of a small number of women who combine the most challenging behaviour with the highest levels of need is not acceptable. There are other relatively small groups of women who have untypical needs which are not being met. The progress the prison has made as a whole should provide a foundation from which to address these remaining concerns.”
Nick Hardwick June 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Click Here to read the full report
HMP & YOI New Hall - Rivendell Unit
Last Inspection by HMCIP: 27- 31 July 2009 - unannounced short follow-up inspection
“The Rivendell Unit is a dedicated 26-bed facility for 17 year-old young women located in the grounds of HMP & YOI New Hall, near Wakefield and opened in December 2005. When we inspected the unit for the first time in 2007, we commended it as a generally safe and respectful place, with plenty of purposeful activity and very good resettlement arrangements. On our return for this short unannounced inspection, we found that there had been a number of further improvements.
“The unit remained essentially safe and this had been enhanced by improved safeguarding and child protection arrangements, including the appointment of a senior social worker. There was little bullying, but rates of self-harm were depressingly high. We were pleased to find that routine strip-searching had been discontinued, but we were concerned by the continued use of the inappropriate intensive supervision cell.
“The unit remained clean and age appropriate, although poorly ventilated. Good relationships between staff and young people, and a relaxed approach to supervision, helped to mitigate the rather claustrophobic communal areas. The personal officer scheme worked well and there were effective consultation arrangements with young people. Encouraging progress had been made in the management of race issues, although less progress had been made in work to support foreign nationals. Healthcare was much improved.
“The unit continued to ensure plenty of time out of cell for young people. The range and quality of learning and skills opportunities remained impressive. Access to outdoor exercise had improved, but spare-time activities in the evenings and weekends remained limited. Access to physical education and the library were satisfactory.
“Resettlement provision continued to be of a high standard. Management arrangements were sound, sentence planning was of a good quality and effective use was made of release on temporary licence. Offending behaviour work was in place and there was a range of services to address issues such as the maintenance of family ties and substance use. However, young people requiring detoxification were still unsatisfactorily housed with adults, and the unit struggled to find suitable accommodation for some young people.
“The Rivendell Unit remained an impressive facility. This inspection found that it was an essentially safe and respectful place, with plenty of purposeful activity and excellent resettlement arrangements for its young women. A number of our previous recommendations had been implemented and staff are to be commended for continuing to move the unit forward in a positive and thoughtful way.”
Anne Owers November 2009
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: October 2014