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: 21.2 (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: £17,900,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £36,083
*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: Mark Hendrick (Labour)
Prisoners may write to either their ‘Home MP’ or the MP in whose constituency their current prison lies.
The address to write to is:
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Most prisons now have PIN phones. Your relative or friend usually needs to apply to have your name and number on his/her telephone account. You will usually receive a call from the prison to check who you are and to ensure you are happy for them to call you. Prisoners cannot receive telephone calls.
There is no restriction on who prisoners can call except in the case of calls to journalists intended to be broadcast. In some cases child protection measures may mean extra checks on who they call.
Prisoners can normally make calls only during ‘association’ periods. Some prisons limit the length of time a call can last to avoid queues and people being disappointed. Prisoners’ telephone calls are very expensive; calls to landlines now cost 10p per minute and 37.5 p to mobiles (compared to 2p in a public phone box). In most prisons the phone calls can be listened to and/or recorded.
If a prisoner is newly convicted or transferred they should be offered an immediate ‘Reception’ phone call to tell you where they are. It may take a few days for numbers to be transferred or added.
When you write to a prisoner you must include your full name and address. In most prisons the letters are searched and can be read before being given to the prisoner.
You can write about anything but letters must not be obscene, name ‘victims’, or be a threat to discipline or security. Do not enclose any items with letters. Make sure you put sufficient postage to cover the costs (anything bigger than A5 counts as ‘large’). Prisoners can normally receive a ‘reasonable’ number of letters per week.
If you send greetings cards these should be of reasonable size and not padded or pouched. Do not send musical cards. If you are sending more than one card put them all inside one outer envelope, this saves postage. Remember to include your full details (you could put your details on a ‘Post-It’ note stuck to the card or include a letter which has your details).
Always put the prisoner’s full name and prison number. If the person has been moved their mail will be forwarded.
On conviction or transfer a prisoner should be given a ‘Reception’ letter to write to tell you where they are.
Prisoners are given a free letter each week to post out, they can send more, but at their own expense. Some prisons allow you to send in stamps.
You can usually send in photographs but in some prisons these must not include any image of the prisoner. Child protection measures may mean that some prisoners may not receive pictures of children, unless they are their own and were not ‘victims’. If you send pictures of children include an explanatory note identifying who the children are and their relationship to the prisoner.
It is not a good idea to send cash, this can get ‘lost’ in the prison. Prisons prefer postal orders, but you could send a cheque. Make these payable to ‘H M Prison Service’, write your name on the back and also the prisoner’s full name and prison number. Any money sent which is deemed to be ‘anonymous’ can be stopped.
Money you send is paid into the prisoner’s ‘Private Cash’ account and they get access to a certain amount (depending upon IEP) each week [currently £15.50 for Standard prisoners].
For full information about visits please refer to our ‘Visit Info’ section for this prison. Visits are very important to prisoners. At most prisons you may not give any item to the prisoner. Any items you wish to give them must usually be posted to the prison, and often after the prisoner has placed an ‘application’ for authorisation to have it sent in. The items which can be posted in are very limited. Check with the prisoner first and wait until they confirm that you can post it.
If there is a serious emergency - close family serious illness, death, or other reason you need to inform the prisoner immediately, you should telephone the main prison number and explain the problem to the operator who will transfer you to the appropriate person. If you are unhappy about their response redial and ask to speak to the Chaplaincy. Prison staff will not pass on general messages but only critical and very urgent messages. You should provide full details of the prisoner including their number.
Support and Advice
There are many very good charities and agencies who offer support and advice to people with family or friends in prison. We have a special section ‘Help/Support’ which has details and contact information for many of these. Do not hesitate or feel shy about calling any of these; they are there to offer support and advice.
EMAIL A PRISONER
This service operates at this prison. Email a Prisoner enables you to send messages to prisoners, in the UK and Irish prisons that operate the service, from any computer, without any of the hassles of writing and posting a letter, and it costs less than a second class stamp!
Your message is delivered to the prison within seconds so that it can be delivered to the prisoner by the prison staff in the next delivery.
It is free to sign up to Email a Prisoner and only takes a few seconds - all you need is an email address (EMaP can help you if you don't have an email address).
Once a member you will be able to send a message to any prisoner in the UK or Ireland, provided you know their prisoner number, from just 25 pence per message.
Click Here for link to Email a Prisoner website
Story Book Dads/Mums
Story Book Dads/Mums operates at this prison.
The imprisoned parent records a story and a message which is then edited and enhanced using digital audio software and editors remove mistakes and add sound effects and music. Finally a CD is made, a personalised cover created, and the finished disc sent to the child. The whole service is free.
Click Here for more information
Prison Video Link (PVL)
All prisons with video link facilities have at least one courtroom and two briefing rooms where the defendant can hold a conference with their solicitor before and, if required, after their court hearing.
If court hearings are not taking place it may be possible for solicitors, barristers and Probation Officers to hold interviews with a prisoner via video link to save having to visit the prison.
The facility is also available to assist the Parole Board in dealing with oral hearings.
It should be noted however that court hearings must take priority.
At other times, operational reasons may mean bookings are refused or cancelled at short notice.
To book the Video Link facility telephone: 01772 444550 ext 4657
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:
10–12 April 2012Unannounced short follow-up inspection
Published: September 2012
Maintaining a Positive Momentum
“At our last full inspection in 2009, we commended HMP Preston for performing reasonably well across all four of our tests of a healthy prison, in spite of old and cramped facilities and a transient population. At this follow-up inspection, we found that the establishment had maintained its positive momentum and had made sufficient progress against the recommendations of that report.
“ Prisoners’ safety was supported by improved reception facilities and processes, though the reception area remained too cramped. There was better provision for those in their early days in custody, but there were weaknesses in support for vulnerable people. Effective measures had been introduced to reduce the risk of violence between prisoners, which needed to be fully embedded, but too few staff had been trained to manage the risk of self-harm. Security arrangements were reasonable, and the use of CCTV, criticised as unclear in the previous report, had been clarified. Searching arrangements had improved, but governance of the use of force remained inadequate. There was now good joint working to support those with substance misuse problems.
“The personal officer scheme, commended at the previous inspection, had not developed strongly, but there had been good progress on equality issues. Further improvement was needed, however, in provision for the needs of foreign nationals. Better partnership working had led to improvements in primary health care, including mental health.
“ The wide range of activities described at the last inspection had been made more effective by more joined-up processes for allocation to work, and the active use of individual learning plans.
“ Work to reduce the risk of reoffending had improved with some access to courses for short- term prisoners. Offender management arrangements were effective for prisoners serving 12 months and above but custody planning for those on remand and short sentences was underdeveloped. The offending behaviour programmes offered had changed appropriately to match the population profile. A new visits facility provided a better environment for visitors, but better organisation was needed to improve visitors’ experience.
“ HMP Preston has maintained a satisfactory standard of prisoner care and custody over a considerable period and has continued with the positive response to the recommendations arising from the last inspection, particularly in equality and resettlement. For a local prison working with many outdated buildings, this report presents an encouraging picture, although there are several areas which could be improved through means which are within local management control.”
Nick Hardwick June 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Click Here to read the full report
by HMCIP: 10–14 August 2009 - announced inspection
“HMP Preston is an overcrowded, largely Victorian, inner city local prison with a transient population of needy and sometimes challenging prisoners. Yet despite these constraints and demands, this announced full inspection found the prison to be performing reasonably well against all our tests of a healthy prison.
“The reception area remained inadequate, particularly given the large number of prisoners who had to be processed and the range of vulnerabilities that had to be managed, but staff still managed to provide a reasonable service. Most prisoners felt safe on their first night and first days were generally well managed. Prisoners at risk of self-harm were well supported, but violence reduction arrangements required strengthening.
“Security was generally proportionate but, in the effort to combat drug supply, there was an overuse of strip searches and squatting for new arrivals. There was also a perplexing array of cameras in cells, notably on the first night centre, drug dependency unit and segregation unit. Staff were unclear about the purpose of some of these cameras and there was a need to review their use and governance to ensure appropriate privacy and decency.
“Despite its age, the physical environment was generally clean and well maintained. Staff– prisoner relationships were good, supported by excellent consultation arrangements and a functioning personal officer scheme. Work on diversity issues was developing, but black and minority ethnic, Muslim and foreign national prisoners reported more negatively than other prisoners on various aspects of the regime. Prisoners lacked confidence in the complaints system. Faith provision was good and health care was improving.
“Unlike many local prisons, Preston had managed to ensure that prisoners had a commendably large and consistent amount of time out of cell. They had a wide range of purposeful activities to attend, including well-managed education provision. There was also reasonable access to the library and to physical education.
“The strategic management of resettlement required further development, but the prison was appropriately focused on the assessment and allocation of its largely short-term population. An effective offender management unit ensured appropriate sentence and custody planning, although moving prisoners on to appropriate training prisons was proving difficult. Work on most of the resettlement pathways was satisfactory, but scope for development remained. Elderly, overcrowded, inner city local prisons such as Preston must manage a wide range of transient, needy and sometimes difficult prisoners in conditions largely designed and built in the 19th century. It is therefore a tribute to the commitment and dedication of staff and managers that this inspection found the prison to be performing reasonably well in each of the principal areas that we examine.”
Anne Owers December 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 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: September 2013