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HMP PRESCOED Prison Regime Info


Coed-y-Paen Pontypool NP4 0TB

Phone No.

01291 675000

Governor / Director

Steve Cross


Male Cat. D



Operational Capacity

503 (with Usk)

Cell Occupancy

Single and double

Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Beverley Moore
Vice Chair: Graham Foulston

Visitor Info Page

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Online Library documents for HMP PRESCOED

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Usk is an open resettlement prison for category D adult male prisoners.


HMP Prescoed is part of HMP Usk/Prescoed, an amalgamation of HMP Usk, and HMP Prescoed which are managed together.

Prescoed is a purpose built hutted camp erected by prisoner labour and opened in 1939 as an open Borstal. It continued as a Borstal until 1964 when it became a Detention Centre. In 1983 it became an open Youth Custody Centre, changing to an open YOI in 1988. Since 2004, it has been exclusively an open prison for adult
males. It is a satellite of HMP Usk which is located about three miles away.


Seven residential units, six of which have 20 rooms each, all on the ground floor. Lester unit is a modern, quick-build, ready-to-use unit with accommodation for 40 prisoners over two floors in single occupancy rooms. The hostel, which assists longer term prisoners to prepare for release, consists of two semi-detached houses that accommodate up to eight prisoners.

Cape Unit
A substance abuse free unit where prisoners have signed a Voluntary Testing Compact, with specialist support available such as Enhanced Thinking Skills programmes, Personal Officer Schemes, Sentence Planning and Drug Counselling.


  • Hobbies kits
  • In-cell power
  • Own bedding
  • Own clothes
  • Playstation (Enhanced only)
  • Television



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The prison is an open Cat D and does not have 'lock-up' times


Mon: Evenings only
Tue: Evenings only
Wed: Evenings only
Thu: Evenings only
Fri: Evenings only
Sat: All day
Sun: All day

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One PESO and 3 PEIs serve both Prescoed and HMP Usk.

On Camp there is a well equipped weight and fitness room, a small sports hall is located in a Nissen hut which limits many activities.

Although there is an opportunity for prisoners to play in an outside football league, as Prescoed has a team which plays in a local league, all matches are played at home.

The main priority of the PE department at present is providing prisoners with evening and weekend PE sessions due to the Resettlement commitments of the majority of Prescoed prisoners.

The only educational course that is being run at Prescoed at present is First Aid and Heart Start, culminating in an OCN qualification.

Sports available include;

  • Badminton
  • Circuit Training
  • Remedial
  • Walking
  • Soccer
  • Soft Tennis
  • Sports Field
  • Weight Training

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Every day.

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The Chaplaincy at Usk and Prescoed is considered an important part of the prison structure with the Coordinating Chaplain being a member of the prisons Senior Management Team as well as having the role of Equalities Manager. When a prisoner arrives at a Usk, they are usually seen by a Chaplain within 24 hours with a more formal induction taking place within the first week. Every prisoner has the right to follow their religious practices and attend Chapel for services pertaining to their declared faith.

Chaplains are always asked to make contribution Sentence Planning or parole Documents and will support prisoners by attending post course reviews if requested.

Like all multifaith chaplaincies, we are made up of chaplains of all different faiths and denominations. The Chaplaincy is able to organise faith activities for all main religions and contact faith representatives to visit individual or groups of prisoners for the purpose of religious activities. Religious festivals are respected and marked within the prison. The chaplaincy regularly advises all prison departments on matters of religious dress, diet and artefacts. A full list of permitted artefacts can be found in the Glossary Section under Religious Artefacts.

Chaplaincy Statement of Purpose (HMPS)
The Chaplaincy is committed to serving the needs of prisoners, staff and religious traditions by engaging all human experience. We will work collaboratively, respecting the integrity of each tradition and discipline. We believe that faith and the search for meaning directs and inspires life, and are committed to providing sacred spaces and dedicated teams to deepen and enrich human experience. We contribute to the care of prisoners to enable them to lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.

The Co-ordinating Chaplain at Prescoed is: Nick Sandford

Amongst the other members of the team there is a Part time Roman Catholic Priest, Free Church, Salvation Army and Quaker Ministers. The Muslim Chaplain attends for 2 days per week. There is  also have a Chaplain who has been trained by CRUSE to deal with Bereavement issues.

Presoed and Usk has their own Chapels and Multi-faith rooms.


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A part- time doctor and 5 nursing staff cover Prescoed and the nearby HMP Usk Prison.

Dental needs are met by a community dentist in Usk and a clinic is run fortnightly but emergencies can be seen as required.

The chiropodist attends the prison as required when sufficient patients require his services.

The nursing staff see any patient with urgent needs Mon-Fri 07.30 to 08.15. There are no nurses available at the weekends but a nurse can deal with emergency health problem by telephone.

The doctor's surgeries are Mondays at 9 am, Tues and Thursdays at 2 pm.


Specialist Clinics

  • Acupuncture: Through CARATS
  • CPN: Staff
  • Dentist: Once a fortnight
  • InReach Availability: As required
  • Optician: As required
  • Physio: Through PE Department
  • Podiatry: As required
  • Stop Smoking: As required


NHS Healthcare Information for Prescoed

Prison Healthcare Manager: Peter Edwards
Tel: 01291 671600

PCT: Monmouthshire Local Health Board
South East Wales Strategic Health Authority


Tel: 029 2037 6821
Fax: 029 2037 6826
Email: lhb.complaints@bsc.wales.nhs.uk

The Complaints Manager
Business Services Centre
4th Floor, Churchill House
Churchill Way
CF10 2TW

There is also a Dental Helpline for ALL NHS dental enquiries: 01702 226668

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The main building has Classrooms, Computer Room, Discussion/ Video Room and offers part-time general education.

The second unit contains Library, Training Kitchen, and Open Learning Room.

A third building houses the Design and Information Technology workshop. A fourth building houses BICSc Training Workshop.

Open Monday to Friday 08.30 - 11.45 & 13.15 - 16.30.

Evening classes Monday and Tuesday 18.30 – 20.00 cover IT, theory driving test practise and general IT drop in session.

A broad range of education is covered.

Those on part time education do not lose pay for attending classes.

Prisoners are interviewed by the Learning and Skills Department in their first week at Prescoed.

Classes include;

  • Art
  • Basic Education
  • Computer Studies
  • English
  • Language
  • Life and Social Skills
  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Music
  • Numeracy
  • Open University


OFSTED inspect education establishments from schools to colleges to prisons. They inspect education facilities within prisons and have inspected HMP Usk / Prescoed.

Inspection judgements
Inspectors use a four-point scale to summarise their judgements about achievement and standards, the quality of provision, and leadership and management, which includes a grade for equality of opportunity.

Key for inspection grades

  • Grade 1 Outstanding;
  • Grade 2 Good;
  • Grade 3 Satisfactory;
  • Grade 4 Inadequate.

Click Here for further information on how inspection judgements are made.

Scope of the inspection
In deciding the scope of the inspection, inspectors take account of the provider’s most recent self-assessment report and development plans, and comments from the local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) or other funding body. Where appropriate, inspectors also consider the previous inspection report , reports from the inspectorates’ monitoring visits, and data on learners and their achievements over the period since the previous inspection.

Last Inspection Date: 08/04/2005


Summary of grades awarded

Construction crafts: 2
Equality of opportunity: 2
Foundation programmes: 2
Leadership and management: 2
Leisure, sport and recreation: 3
Quality improvement 2
Using IT: 2

To read their report click here


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The Farm is the main employer at Prescoed, which has a 420 acre dairy farm a short distance from the establishment.

The farm has 120 milking cows plus young stock, along with a small herd of Pedigree Welsh Black cattle.

There is also a sawmill from which wood products are being developed by prisoners and staff from the 160 acre woodland.

The farm is an accredited lift truck training centre through RTITB.


Part- time education and vocational training, catering, horticulture and BICS cleaning account for other employment opportunities at Prescoed.


Current Wages

Employed: From £5 - £25 depending upon IEP
Education: £9.84
Retired: £7.02
Long term sick: £7.02

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  • Carats
  • Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS)

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The resettlement department consists of one PO, one SO and six officers with two administrative assistants.

The main role of the resettlement department is to assist prisoners in developing skills or receiving training to enable them to gain employment.

At the appropriate time of their sentence, prisoners will be risk assessed to enable them to be released from the prison on licence in order to work out in the community and the resettlement department is responsible for co-ordinating the risk assessments, licences and work placements.

Help is provided with mentoring, opening bank accounts, careers advice, accommodation, housing, driving lessons and tests.

  • The CAB assist.
  • CSV projects

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Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for Usk/Prescoed: 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 for Usk/Prescoed: 33.2 (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.

Prescoed and Usk are combined so figures relate to both establishments
Annual Budget: £7,900,000 ((2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £33,139
*The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.

Parliamentary Information
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: David Davies (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.

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

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.

Full inspections
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.

Escort inspections
Three escort inspections are conducted every year.

Pre-inspection visit
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.

The inspection
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
• work
• diversity
• resettlement

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

Post-inspection action
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.


HMCIP REPORT (Prescoed & Usk)

Last Inspection by HMCIP: 19 – 23 April 2010 - Announced inspection
Report Dated: July 2010
Published: 30th September 2010

They said:
“ Usk and Prescoed are two jointly managed, but very different, prisons in Monmouthshire. Usk is a closed category C training prison, mainly holding sex offenders. Prescoed is an open prison, focused on resettling suitably assessed prisoners into the community. This full announced inspection found that both prisons were impressively safe, respectful and purposeful, although – unlike Prescoed – Usk needed to improve its focus on some core resettlement and public protection tasks.

“ We were impressed by the levels of safety at both sites, which were readily confirmed by prisoners. Early days in custody were generally well managed. There was little violence, bullying or self-harming, and drugs were not a substantial problem. The atmosphere at both prisons was relaxed and, as a result, levels of adjudications, use of force and segregation were all low. There were very few absconds from Prescoed, and relatively few prisoners had been returned to closed conditions.

“ The environment at both prisons was clean and well ordered, although some cells at Usk were too small for sharing. Staff-prisoner relationships were generally excellent, supported by a reasonable personal officer scheme. Most aspects of diversity were well managed but – as reported at previous inspections – we were concerned to find that there were very few black and minority ethnic prisoners at the open prison. The Director of Offender Management for Wales needs to satisfy herself that this continued anomaly is entirely explicable and justified. The chaplaincy provided a generally good service, and health care was excellent on both sites.

“ There was plenty of purposeful activity at both prisons, with a good amount of time out of cell at Usk and a full open regime at Prescoed, including an impressive number of suitable prisoners working in the community. Our colleagues from Estyn considered that the management, range and quality of education and learning and skills was generally good. Library access was good as was PE, despite the constraints of the site at Usk.

“ Strategic management of resettlement was generally sound and informed by some needs analysis. Offender management was generally good at both sites, although the role of offender supervisors at Usk required clarification. Completion of offender assessments were generally timely and, at Prescoed, there were effective mechanisms to identify resettlement need, although more needed to be done to check progress before discharge. Some aspects of public protection arrangements at Usk required improvement, particularly given the risks posed by the population. Work with indeterminate-sentenced prisoners at both sites was underdeveloped. There was reasonable work along most resettlement pathways, but more innovative work was needed at Usk to address the issues posed by the significant number of sex offenders denying their offences. The visits arrangements at Usk were particularly poor. T

“ This is a very positive report on both Usk and Prescoed. Levels of safety were impressive, and relationships between staff and prisoners excellent. Both sites offered plenty of purposeful activity, and there was extensive use of release on temporary licence to support resettlement at Prescoed. At Usk, there were a number of significant weaknesses in resettlement that needed to be addressed. Nonetheless, staff and managers deserve considerable praise for what they have achieved at two disparate sites.

“ As at other Welsh prisons we have visited recently, staff raised concerns with us about suggestions from national managers that there may changes to their prisons’ role, particularly Usk. Clearly, no prison can be immune from change in the current economic climate, but care should be taken to sustain the hard-won achievements that we have identified at Usk and Prescoed.”

Nigel Newcomen July 2010
HM Deputy 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 IMDs are numbers; 74 to 80

IMBs were known as ‘Boards of Visitors’ and are still referred to in the legislation under their old titles, although this is likely to change in the near future.

The Independent Monitoring Board for each establishment is made up of independent and unpaid volunteers from the local area. They monitor the day-to-day life in the establishment and ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Members have unrestricted access to all areas of the prison at all times and can talk to any prisoner they wish, out of sight and hearing of a members of staff. They visit all areas such as; kitchens, workshops, accommodation blocks, recreation areas, healthcare centre and chaplaincy.

If a prisoner or detainee has an issue that they have been unable to resolve through the usual internal channels, they can place a confidential request to see a member of the IMB. Problems might include concerns over lost property, visits from family or friends, special religious or cultural requirements, or even serious allegations such as bullying. In addition, if something serious happens at the prison, for example a riot or a death in custody, IMB members may be called in to attend and observe the way in which it is handled.

IMB members sample food, can attend adjudications and should visit people held in the segregation unit. They must also be kept informed on such issues as the use of restraints.

The IMB meets regularly, usually once per month, and has an elected Chair and Vice Chair. Members work together as a team to raise any matters of concern and to keep an independent eye on the prison.


CLICK HERE - to read the latest IMB reports for any prison.
Click on the year and then select the prison.

Information in this section has been kindly provided by the individual prison and the Ministry of Justice. This is supplemented with information from various government websites, Inspectorates and IMB reports and specialist departments within the Prison Service, government, and regional assemblies/parliaments.
Some of the data is published retrospectively: IMBs/Visiting Committees publish their reports up to 6 months after the end of the reporting period and at different times throughout the year, HMCIP publish their reports up to 6 months after the inspection. Population and performance figures are the latest published but can be considerably out of date.
Please Note: Information is constantly changing: The information on our website is regularly checked but if you have additional information, or if you believe that any of our information is incorrect or any links appear to fail please click on ‘Contact’, below.
Before acting upon any information you are advised to contact the prison directly to ensure there have been no recent changes.

Last Update: March 2012


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