Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for this prison: 2
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: 19.2 (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: £23,900,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £29,862
*The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.
CONSTITUENCY: Liverpool Walton
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Steve Rotheram (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
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: 0151 530 4000 ext 4415
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: 8 – 16 December 2011
by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons - Unannounced full follow-up inspection
Published: May 2012
Making slow progress
“HMP Liverpool, known locally as Walton Gaol, is a large, local prison for remand and convicted men mainly from the Merseyside area. Previous inspections have found very little progress made in addressing some of the prison’s deep-rooted problems and so it is to the credit of the current management and staff that this inspection found progress was being made, albeit painfully slowly and with some significant gaps.
“ In our survey, more prisoners than at our last inspection and at similar prisons told us that most staff treated them with respect and that they had a member of staff they could turn to if they had a problem. We observed generally relaxed and friendly interactions between staff and prisoners but mutual expectations appeared low. The prison struggled to keep old and sometimes literally crumbling buildings decent and habitable. A traffic light system had been introduced which now, at least, ensured cells in the very worst condition were taken out of use.
“ Although, in our survey, prisoners from some minority groups reported less positively than the majority of the population, the prison’s work on diversity issues had a new, positive impetus. There was an enthusiastic equalities team who were well regarded by prisoner diversity representatives, but it was now important that the new and comprehensive equalities strategy embedded further improvements in the work of the prison as a whole. Health services remained good.
“ Prisoners also told us that they felt safer in the prison than at our last inspection and perceptions of safety were now similar to other local prisons. For the population as a whole, the evidence generally bore out their perceptions. The recorded level of fights and assaults had fallen significantly since our last inspection. Levels of self-harm were relatively low and the average number of open ACCT documents (suicide and self-harm monitoring procedures) had remained constant. Despite this, there was no room for complacency. Both violence reduction and ACCT procedures needed more consistent implementation on the wings and a greater emphasis on tackling underlying causes. We found evidence that a problem of misplaced risk information identified by an investigation into a self-inflicted death earlier in 2011 was repeated on the arrival of another prisoner during the inspection. There had been three self-inflicted deaths since our last inspection and very sadly another death, which appeared to be self-inflicted, took place during the course of the inspection itself.
“ Most vulnerable prisoners had, at some time, feared for their safety in the prison. Problems with first night procedures were a significant factor in this. There were designated first night landings for ordinary and vulnerable prisoners but neither had the capacity required to cope with the flow of prisoners. This was bad enough for the general population but we found vulnerable prisoners located among the general population in their first week who had been forced to remain in their cells, unable to shower or associate. Most vulnerable prisoners had a very poor induction. Even after the first night and induction periods, the vulnerable prisoner wing did not have space for all and we found incidents of vulnerable prisoners who had been assaulted on the main wings where they had had to be located. Relationships between staff and prisoners on the vulnerable prisoner wing were good, but poor arrangements for securing the safety of vulnerable prisoners restricted their access to almost all other parts of the regime. They were less likely to be able to shower daily. They had very poor access to education, work and library provision, and no access at all to vocational training. Many did not even feel safe enough to attend religious services because these were held jointly with the main population. They had less access to some resettlement support and they felt stigmatised and threatened during visits. This was an unacceptable state of affairs and there was little sign the prison was addressing it in the determined way required.
“ The incentives and earned privileges scheme had been used to reinforce a zero tolerance approach to a range of bad behaviour. In practice, this was too often used as a crude punishment system with little emphasis on encouraging good behaviour. Of most concern was the designation of one wing landing as a ‘reintegration unit’ where prisoners on the ‘basic’ level of the scheme were held. Prisoners were placed on the basic level and in the unit for offences where an adjudication would normally be held but where the evidence was not sufficient to support formal charges. The unit was little different from segregation but without the procedural and governance safeguards segregation would require. In some aspects, the unit did not meet the minimum standards required by the prison service. Prisoners were not allowed association for the first 14 days they spent in the unit and, until the inspection, were not allowed a radio. Certainly, there was little evidence of the ‘reintegration’ the name implied. We found very vulnerable men on open ACCTs in the unit and others with meaningless targets where little effort was made to identify the reasons for their behaviour and where the regime was far too restrictive to meet their needs.
“ It was welcome that prisoners could spend more time out of their cells since our last inspection and that a greater range of activity was available. The quality of education, training and work opportunities was mixed and the good quality assurance processes that had been in place at the last inspection had not been sustained. The workshops did not lead to recognised qualifications and there was not enough steady contract work to provide a realistic working environment. Nevertheless, these problems had been identified and were being addressed. Roles and responsibilities had been reassigned and the prison was now well placed to implement its learning and skills strategy.
“ The prison’s new reducing reoffending strategy was based on a thorough needs assessment but the strategy had not been in place long enough to assess its impact. The prison had developed good community links. However, resettlement resources were not adequate to meet the needs of the population held. There were significant backlogs of the reviews necessary to address prisoners’ offending behaviour and little planning for remand or short-term prisoners. Housing services were stretched and some prisoners did not have accommodation confirmed until the day they were released; during the inspection just before Christmas, some prisoners expressed great anxiety that they would be homeless after release.
“ The challenge of making the improvements that HMP Liverpool requires should not be underestimated. There is still a need for significant improvements and some aspects of the regime – particularly the treatment of vulnerable prisoners and those on the basic incentives level – are unacceptable. However, overall this inspection found improvements were being made and the prison had some encouraging plans for the future, although they were still too new to be judged during this inspection. We hope that by the time of our next inspection these plans will have borne fruit and the improvements we began to see on this inspection will have accelerated.”
Nick Hardwick February 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Click Here to read the full report
by HMCIP: 7 – 11 September 2009 - announced inspection
“Liverpool is one of the largest prisons in the country, with a transitory population. It has in the past been the subject of poor inspection reports, though the last inspection detected considerable improvement. This inspection did not detect noticeable slippage, but nor did it find that progress had been maintained in all areas.
“Like many inner-city local prisons, Liverpool worked hard to prevent the entry of drugs, but prisoners still reported them to be too readily available. Connected with this was an underlying problem of violence and bullying, which was not yet being tackled effectively. More than half the prisoners surveyed said they had felt unsafe at some time. Reception and first night procedures were not working effectively. There was some good care for prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm, but this was variable and procedures to ensure support needed improvement. On the positive side, the segregation unit was exceptionally well run, and use of force was low and well monitored.
“Liverpool was much cleaner and better kept than at earlier inspections, given the age of the buildings. However, as at the last inspection, there were a few cells which were simply unfit for use and should not have been certified. Staff-prisoner relationships in general were affable, though we had concerns about the management and approach on one wing. The general role of residential staff in actively supporting prisoners and tackling inappropriate behaviour was underdeveloped. In spite of some active management of race, black and minority ethnic prisoners continued to have more negative perceptions, as did those prisoners transferred from outside the North West. Other aspects of diversity, such as disability, needed more attention.
“The quality of much of the education and some of the workshops was commendable. There was a real attempt to link work to employability. A small but significant number of prisoners were able to train in industry-standard environments that could lead to immediate employment on release. However, there was still insufficient activity for the whole population. Worse, the provision that existed was under-used, with only two-thirds of education places taken up, and prisoners regularly arriving late. This wasted both opportunities and money.
“There was a significant backlog of prisoners awaiting assessments before being able to engage in activity – yet these assessments did not in the end determine allocation. There was over-allocation to popular workshops, which meant in practice that these men were without activity. We found up to 46% of prisoners locked in their cells during the working day. Time out of cell was also over-reported.
“Liverpool, along with other prisons in the North West, had been part of the pathfinder that preceded the roll-out of offender management. In the absence of the resources and energy that had accompanied this initiative, current resettlement work appeared to have stalled. The strategy was not based on a current needs analysis, and there was as yet no effective custody planning for the majority short-sentenced or remanded population. Some aspects of reintegration work – such as accommodation and engagement with employers – were good, but others were not – such as children and families, or interventions to help prisoners progress through sentence. A particularly glaring gap was the absence of effective provision for drug or alcohol treatment, given the prevalence of previous drug and alcohol abuse in the population.
“This inspection confirmed that Liverpool remained a better prison than it was four years ago, but it also showed that further hoped-for progress had not yet been achieved. Simply maintaining standards in a prison with a transitory population, exacerbated by overcrowding drafts from the West Midlands, is not easy and has required considerable effort. However, some of the key issues identified at the last inspection had still not been tackled. Some, such as the role and proactivity of residential staff and improvements in safety, need active local management. But others, such as the use of unsuitable accommodation and the need for more activities and interventions, require investment and action from the Director of Offender Management. At a time of shrinking resources, this will not be easy.”
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: May 2012