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: 24.4 (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: £14,700,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £39,027
*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: Chris Heaton-Harris (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.
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
Prisoners with a drug issues / problems are seen on the Induction Units. There are a range of comprehensive interventions available including CARATS, one to one work, group work, auricular acupuncture, voluntary testing, detoxification and a drug support unit. Onley has strong links with outside agencies including the Drug Action team. The PASRO course (offending behaviour programme linked to drug misuse is also available).
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 November 2010 - Unannounced short follow-up inspection
Report Dated: January 2011
Published: 8th March 2011
“Onley is an adult male category C prison in the East Midlands. At the time of this inspection it held 683 prisoners.
“ This was an unannounced short follow-up inspection that looked at the progress that had been made since our last inspection in 2007. The prison itself had undergone significant changes since that time and no longer housed young offenders or accepted foreign national prisoners. It is pleasing to note that the change in role coincided with good progress in implementing our recommendations and a significant improvement in outcomes for prisoners. All of the main recommendations we made in 2007 had been achieved and the prison was now reasonably good in all areas.
“ The areas that caused us most concern during our last inspection had improved most. There was now strong leadership of learning and skills and there was a broad education curriculum, a wide range of vocational training and a good variety of work activity. Only 3% of the prisoners were recorded as unemployed.
“ There was a similar improvement in resettlement where good work across offender management and the individual resettlement pathways was underpinned by a good strategy. Nacro and the Citizens Advice Bureau inputted effectively into the resettlement process. However, limited offending behaviour programmes prevented a number of prisoners held on indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPP) from addressing their risk factors and progressing.
“ A good range of purposeful activity and a clear emphasis on working with prisoners to support their resettlement were underpinned by a decent environment and generally good relationships between staff and prisoners. Health care continued to be good. There were some relatively small improvements needed: cleanliness was not good in some areas; prisoners complained about the food and we saw some that had to be returned because it had not been adequately heated. The diversity strategy was too narrow in scope.
“ The prison provided a generally safe environment. There were good procedures in place to care for prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm and to tackle bullying. Inspectors did not find evidence of the significant illegal drug use that we had reported on at our last inspection. Some rules and procedure were over restrictive and too risk-averse.
“ This is a good inspection and while there is still room for further improvement in some areas, the governor and staff are to be commended on the progress they have made.”
Nick Hardwick January 2011
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Click here to read the full report
by HMCIP: November 2007 (Announced Full Inspection)
“Since its last full inspection, Onley had changed its role, from an entirely young offender institution to a category C training prison, holding a majority of adult men and a minority of young adults. Staff therefore had to deal with a significantly different population, and with fewer resources. Moreover, the population pressure in the prison system as a whole meant that the prison was taking in prisoners for shorter periods and from a wide geographical area, sometimes as far away as the south coast.
“The consequences of this were evident during the inspection. Onley remained a reasonably safe prison, with good reception and induction processes, a particularly effective peer support scheme, and sound anti-bullying and suicide prevention arrangements. However, there was a significant problem with drugs on the adult wings, where more than half of prisoners told us it was easy to get drugs, and testing procedures were inadequate to respond to this. In addition, too many prisoners were gravitating to the segregation unit, sometimes to escape drugs or drug debts, and sometimes because they wanted to move closer to home.
“Relationships between staff and the adult male population were not sufficiently good, as evidenced in our survey and the MQPL (measuring the quality of prison life) survey carried out as part of the recent Prison Service audit. The underlying problem was prisoners’ perception that staff treated them as children: suggesting that staff had not sufficiently altered their approach when the prison had changed its role. There were particularly negative perceptions among black and minority ethnic prisoners, and lines of communication with them were poor. By contrast, health services were extremely good – among the best we have seen – with some extremely innovative practice, and an integrated and effective mental health team.
“It was disappointing that the two areas that were weakest at Onley – purposeful activity and resettlement – should have been its strengths, as a training prison. Activity was particularly poor. Around a third of prisoners were locked up during the core day; there were few vocational qualifications available; education was operating at only 60% of contracted capacity; and some of the teaching and achievements were weak. We observed poor and unsafe working practices in some of the workshops.
“Resettlement work also needed development. Progress was made much more difficult by the rapid turnaround of prisoners, due to the early release scheme, and the wide geographical area from which they came. However, the prison’s own resettlement strategy was insufficiently clear and its implementation not effectively monitored. Offender supervisors were routinely diverted to other duties, and there was no custody planning for short-term prisoners. Drug treatment work focused too much on assessment, and courses did not meet the needs of prisoners.
“Though it remained a largely safe and decent establishment, Onley was not an effective training prison at the time of this inspection. Its difficulties partly stemmed from its change of role, and the effects of national population pressures. But prison managers, and the education provider, also needed to ensure that they were making the most of the facilities available and providing good quality activities and resettlement support that met the needs of the prisoners. That would go some way to creating a more positive environment for both staff and prisoners.”
Anne Owers January 2008
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 for IMB Website
Click Here for the latest published Annual IMB Report for this prison (2009-10)
Information in this section has been provided, primarily, by the prison. This information is supplemented with information from the various prison service websites; Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons; information and quotes from recent IMB/Visiting Committee reports; and specialist departments within the Prison Service, government, and regional assemblies/parliaments. Performance and population data is provided by the Ministry of Justice.
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 can be up to three months out of date.
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, please click on ‘Contact’, below.
Updated: March 2012