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: 43.5 (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: £5,400,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £29,358
*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: Boston and Skegness
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Mark Simmonds (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.
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
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:
16–18 April 2012 Unannounced short follow-up inspection
Published: September 2012
A successful open prison
“North Sea Camp is a male open prison in the Lincolnshire Fens. At the time of the inspection it held 362 men. In our previous inspection in 2009, we found that much of the accommodation badly needed refurbishment. There was a high proportion of short-term prisoners whose needs were not matched to the regime and this led to weaknesses in resettlement but, overall, there was sufficient activity and prisoners felt safe.
“ At this short follow-up inspection, we found that sufficient progress had been made in three out of four healthy prison criteria. Levels of violence and the number of self-harm incidents were low. Routine strip-searching no longer took place and there was a more proportionate approach toward security and discipline. Despite an increase in the size of the population, as well as in the number of high-risk individuals, a successful balance had been struck between care and control, and the establishment remained an essentially safe place.
“ The refurbishment work which had been carried out had resulted in some improvements but, overall, living conditions remained broadly similar to those we had found previously. As a result of the increase in the size of the population, more prisoners were now required to share cells, which meant that most prisoners now lived in extremely cramped accommodation.
“ Relationships between officers and prisoners remained good but, although some work had been done to reinvigorate the personal officer scheme, it was still not particularly effective. No progress had been made in developing work on diversity and given the significant changes in the profile of the population since the previous inspection, this was a key weakness.
“ All prisoners continued to have ample time unlocked. The number and range of accredited courses had increased, classroom attendance had improved and course completion rates were now good. The resources available to provide prisoners with opportunities in learning and skills were well managed but the level of provision was too limited, as there were still not enough places. Too many of the jobs available to prisoners were mundane. Considerable improvements had been made to the PE facilities and there was a broader range of activities provided in the evening.
“ Greater priority was now being given to resettlement. A large amount of effort had already been made to develop a more strategic approach, and efforts were beginning to be made to develop purposeful pathway work. Release on temporary licence was used effectively and the procedural delays in completing assessments, which we had found previously in a number of areas, were no longer evident. The regime provided for long-term prisoners adequately met their basic needs. The number and range of employers available to provide support to help prisoners to resettle had increased. Constructive work was being carried out within the ‘offsite’ resettlement unit to help to normalise the experience of long-term prisoners.
“ The isolated location of North Sea Camp, along with the poor state of the built environment, undoubtedly create barriers to what can be achieved there. Nevertheless, it continues to fulfil its function as an open prison relatively successfully. In order to build on the incremental progress we saw, the prison needs to give greatest attention to the areas of diversity and resettlement.”
Nick Hardwick June 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Click Here to read the full report
by HMCIP: May 2007 (Unannounced short Follow-Up Inspection)
“North Sea Camp is an open prison in the Lincolnshire fens. On our last inspection we described it as a struggling prison that needed to reappraise its purpose and direction, and we expressed particular concerns about poor relationships between some staff and prisoners. On our return for an unannounced short follow-up inspection, we found that some progress had been made, but there was more still to do.
“The prison remained an essentially safe place, even though overcrowding in the prison system as a whole had resulted in the arrival of more short-term prisoners, with less investment in the prison or preparation for open conditions. Incidents of self-harm remained low and, while there was some evidence of bullying, prisoners generally reported feeling safe. Given the combination of open conditions and some disaffected prisoners, drugs posed a significant problem, but this was being challenged robustly by staff and efficient security systems were in place. Levels of absconding also remained relatively low.
“At the time of the last inspection, we raised considerable concerns about both the state of the accommodation and the relationships between staff and prisoners. Neither had been effectively addressed. None of our recommendations about accommodation had been met, and the condition of the showers remained unacceptable. We continued to hear too many reports of disrespectful or disengaged staff behaviour. The personal officer scheme remained weak, prisoners complained about petty restrictions, and, in spite of the prison’s resettlement focus, they could only wear prison-issue clothing. However, there had been some improvement in race relations, and both faith and healthcare services were good.
“There had been improvement in the quantity and quality of learning and skills and physical education, but most employment opportunities remained mundane. The prison’s strategic approach to resettlement had failed to keep pace with changes to its population: there was too little attention to the needs of short-term prisoners, little treatment provision for the substantial numbers of sex offenders; and a scarcity of suitable work placements in the community for eligible longer-term prisoners. However, sentence planning had improved and progress had been made in setting up offender management structures.
“North Sea Camp, like many open prisons, has had to accept an increased number of short-term prisoners as a result of the prison overcrowding crisis. This has compounded the weaknesses highlighted on our previous inspection, many of which have still to be addressed. Nor were the needs and aspirations of longer term prisoners, particularly sex offenders, being adequately addressed. Managers had attempted to instil a new sense of purpose into the establishment, but there was still a great deal to do, in the face of continued population pressure and insufficient resources.”
Anne Owers August 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: September 2012