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HMP WAKEFIELD Prison Regime Info


5 Love Lane Wakefield WF2 9AG image of HMP WAKEFIELD prison

Phone No.

01924 612000

Governor / Director

Mr Dave Harding


High Security


Yorkshire and Humberside

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy


Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Richard Baldwin
Vice Chair: Ronald Drake & Ann Withers

Visitor Info Page

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Online Library documents for HMP WAKEFIELD

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HMP Wakefield is a high-security prison for men typically in security categories A and B.

HMP Wakefield was originally built as a house of correction in 1594. The current prison was designated a ‘dispersal' prison in 1966 (the longest of the remaining original group). It is now a main lifer centre with the focus on serious sex offenders. The average prison roll is approximately 740 including approximately 100 Category A and 10 High Risk Category A prisoners.

Wakefield houses a Close Supervision Centre (CSC) a small therapeutic centre aiming to provide a supportive, safe, structured and consistent environment for some of the most challenging prisoners.

There are 4 main residential units built around the Victorian style floor plan. January 2006 saw A Wing open, which completed a ten-year refurbishment of the prison's accommodation.

Each wing holds approximately 185 prisoners in single occupancy cells. F Wing holds refractory prisoners and there is facility for up to 8 Close Supervision Centre prisoners.

The CSC unit offers exceptional levels of regime for the prisoners housed there. Visits, gym and education can all be undertaken on the unit.

All residential units have kitchens available for prisoners to prepare their own meals.

The Incentives and Earned Privileges system operates throughout the establishment allowing standard and enhanced prisoners the opportunity of in cell TV.

All prisoners are subject to Mandatory Drugs Testing (MDT) and there is Voluntary Testing Arrangements (VTA) throughout the prison, which are compulsory for all prisoners employed in positions of responsibility such as wing cleaners or kitchen workers.

Reception criteria:
Prisoners serving over five years primarily for sexual offences or those who have previously committed sexual offences. Preferably those prisoners who are willing to participate in offence-focused treatment activities.



Cooking facilities
Fridge - Freezer
Hobbies kits
In-cell power
Own bedding (Quilt cover - Enhanced only)
Own clothes (not Basic)
Pets (if in possession)
Playstation (Enhanced only)
Television (£1 per week)

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08:00 - 12:30, 14:00 - 16:30 & 16:45 - 19:00


08:00 - 12:30, 14:00 - 16:30 & 16:45 - 19:00


08:00 - 12:30, 14:00 - 16:30 & 16:45 - 19:00


08:00 - 12:30, 14:00 - 16:30 & 16:45 - 19:00


08:00 - 12:30 & 14:00 - 17:00


08:45 - 12:30 & 14:00 - 17:00


08:45 - 12:30 & 14:00 - 17:00



16:45 - 19:00


16:45 - 19:00


16:45 - 19:00


16:45 - 19:00


14:00 - 17:00


08:45 - 12:30 & 14:00 - 17:00


08:45 - 12:30 & 14:00 - 17:00

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The gymnasium facility at HMP Wakefield offers an extensive selection of activities that operate on rotation to ensure all prisoners have access to a range of physical activity. Specialised classes are also offered including an over 60s afternoon that encourages men who wouldn't ordinarily use the gym to participate in gentle exercise and provides an opportunity for greater social interaction. The physical education officers are committed to providing an inclusive regime that encourages as many people as possible to keep active and physically fit. As of May 2008 over 55% of the establishment's population access the gym facilities in some way.

Circuit Training
Indoor Bowls
Light Circuit Training
Over 40s
Over 50s
Soft Tennis
Sports Field
Weight Loss Programme
Weight Training

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Once a week library session but also daily access for prisoners attending Education classes


The well stocked library is within the education complex and provides a wide range of reading material, audio books and newspapers.

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Every prison has a Chaplaincy department managed by a Co-ordinating Chaplain and supported by admin staff, other Chaplains and ‘Sessional Chaplains’ (faith leaders who visit for specific services or sessions). The Chaplaincy is considered an important part of the prison structure. When a prisoner arrives at a prison they are usually seen by a Chaplain within 24 hours and are invited to register as a specific religion (if they haven’t already done so) and can change their declared religion at any time.

The Chaplaincy does far more than just pastoral care; they often are able to lend guitars, and at the request of a Prisoner can arrange to have flowers sent if they have funds available. Chaplains may take part in Sentence Planning if asked and are available as a ‘listening ear’ and are able, sometimes, to help with domestic problems. Most Chaplaincies run various courses and activities which may or may not have a religious theme. Chaplaincy at HMP Wakefield, currently run a “Meet and Chill Course” for prisoners who are struggling with their environment, as well as a “Living with Loss Course” which is designed to help prisoners with issues around bereavement and loss. Every prisoner has the right to follow their religious practices and attend Chapel for services pertaining to their declared faith (even when segregated).

The Chaplaincy are able to organise faith activities for all main religions (as recognised by the Prison Service; this does not, at present include Rastafarian as a specific religion) and contact faith representatives to visit individual or groups of prisoners for the purpose of religious activities. The chaplaincy can also intercede on matters of religious dress, diet and artefacts. A full list of permitted artefacts can be found in the Glossary Section under Religious Artefacts.

You can contact the Chaplaincy by letter or by telephoning the main prison number and asking to speak to the Chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy works as part of the prison and cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality (they can explain this to you in detail). Prisoners can contact the Chaplaincy in person or by Application.

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 Wakefield is: The Revd Andy Rowe

The Chaplaincy Team is multi-faith. It provides pastoral care for prisoners and staff and endeavours to enable all prisoners to practise the religion of their choice, privately and corporately. The faiths covered include Roman Catholic, Church of England, Islam, Paganism, Jehovah Witnesses, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism.

There is an extensive weekly programme of services and instruction for all faith groups. The chaplaincy also provides dedicated sessions for the over 60s population as a place to come and discuss relevant issues.

The chapel works closely with the Diversity Team who have recently led the way in providing regular meetings for Rastafarian prisoners.

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Dentist Availability

Every weekday

Optician Availability

Twice a week

Physio Availability

3 times per week

Podiatry Availability

Twice a week

Stop Smoking Availability

2 full-time staff provide this service



InReach Availability

Permanent staff

The Healthcare Unit has four cells with camera observation for those prisoners at particular risk of medical difficulties. The unit also houses a crisis suite for prisoners  at exceptional risk from self-harm or suicide. In addition to these facilities the unit offers an inpatient ward and several clinics.

The Prison Service say there is a dedicated team of staff who assess the needs of prisoners with disabilities, those who are over 60 and foreign national prisoners.


NHS Healthcare Information for Wakefield

Prison Healthcare Manager: Andrew Marsden
Tel: 01924 246000

PCT: Wakefield Primary Care Trust
Yorkshire and the Humber Strategic Health Authority

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
PALS is there to help when you need advice, or wish to make a complaint. As a patient, relative or carer PALS provide confidential advice and support, helping you to sort out any concerns that you may have about any aspect of your NHS care.

The service aims to:
• advise and support patients, their families and carers
• provide information on NHS services
• listen to your concerns, suggestions or queries
• help sort out problems quickly on your behalf

PALS acts independently when handling patient and family concerns, liaising with staff, managers and where appropriate, relevant organisations to negotiate prompt solutions. If necessary they can also refer patients and families to specific local or national-based support agencies.

Contact Information

Tel: 0845 602 4832
Email: PALS@wdpct.nhs.uk

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

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The Manchester College
The Manchester College, Offender Learning Directorate, Fielden Compus, Burlow Manor Road M1 3HB
Tel: 0800 068 8585

Career Information & Advice Services (CIAS)
Working Links
Head office: Unicorn House, Bromley, Kent BR1 1NX
Tel: 020 8212 8255

The purpose built Education Department offers a wide range of learning opportunities. It focuses on the need to raise basic skills whilst also offering Open University Courses to those who wish to study at degree level. The education programme supports the peer-led Toe-by-Toe project that encourages prisoners to support their peers with literacy needs. Included in the education complex is a well stocked library, which provides a wide range of reading material, audio books and newspapers.

Courses include;

Basic Education
Computer Studies
Creative Writing
Key Skills
Life and Social Skills
Open University


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

Last Inspection Date: 01/12/2008
To read their report click here

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Prison Workshops
Contract Services
Textiles x3

Employment includes;

  • Braille
  • Catering
  • Charity Workshop
  • Hospitality/Catering
  • Industrial Cleaning
  • Picta
  • Recycling
  • Textiles (sewing shops)
  • Woodwork


Learning aims recorded for Skills Funding Agency OLASS

Adult Literacy
Adult Literacy (Entry 1, 2 and 3)
Adult Numeracy
Barista Skills (QCF)
Certificate for IT Users (CLAiT Plus)
Certificate for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Diploma in Handcraft Tailoring
Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership (NVQ) (QCF)
ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening) (Entry 1)
ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening) (Entry 2)
ESOL Skills for Life (Speaking and Listening) (Entry 3)
Food Safety in Catering (QCF)
Functional Skills English (QCF)
Functional Skills Information and Communication Technology (QCF)
Functional Skills Mathematics (QCF)
Hospitality and Catering Skills
International Fashion Studies
NQF - Level 1, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15), PW A
NQF - Level 1, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW A
NQF - Level 2, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15), PW A
NQF - Level 2, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
NQF - Level 2, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW C
NVQ in Business and Administration
NVQ in Food Processing and Cooking
NVQ in Multi-Skilled Hospitality Services
OCN Entry Level, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Entry Level, PW C, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7)
OCN Level 1, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 1, PW B, Health, Public Services and Care (SSA 1)
OCN Level 1, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 2, PW A, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15)
OCN Level 2, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 2, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 3, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
Personal Progress (Entry 1) (QCF)
Practical skills/crafts, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
QCF provision - Entry Level, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW A
QCF provision - Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
QCF provision - Entry Level, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW C
QCF provision - Level 1, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
QCF provision - Level 1, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
QCF provision - Level 2, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
QCF provision - Level 2, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
QCF provision - Level 2, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
QCF provision - Level 3, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
Sewing and Textiles

Work Based Support and Mentoring



Current wage for employed

£14.40 (all IEP levels)

Wage for retired / long term sick

£10.00 (retired) £4.50/£5.00/£5.00 (long term sick, subject to IEP)


£6.50 (Basic), £12.10 (Standard), £14.00 (Enhanced)

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Offending behaviour programmes include courses for those with substance abuse problems, sexual offending histories and a general need to enhance their thinking processes. An additional course called ‘Foundation' helps to give prisoners the necessary insights they require before accessing further programmes.

Assessment and Intervention Centre
This is a multi-disciplinary team of staff including discipline staff, Chartered Psychologists, Probation Staff and support grades. The team are based in purpose built centre offering 10 group rooms and 4 interview rooms, all of which are fitted with video monitoring equipment allowing constant quality control of our programme delivery. The centre offers numerous intervention programmes.

These include;
Auricular Acupuncture
CARATs (inc relapse prevention, one to one sessions, detox referrals)
Core, Extended, Adapted Sex Offender Treatment Programmes (SOTP)
Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) including a new adapted programme
Focus (drug and alcohol treatment programme)
Healthy Sexual Functioning Programme (HSFP)
Pre Release & Offender Development
Voluntary Drug Testing scheme

The unit also provides a wide range of psychological services and support to the prison as a whole; this includes structured support for the Segregation Unit (F Wing), the CSC and the Health Care Centre. The unit contributes to Sentence Planning Meeting Review Boards which now have more focus on addressing individual needs and managing risk.


Family Days Available


Guardian Has To Stay


Own Children




Age Limits

No restrictions

No of Visitors Permitted

3 adults plus children who meet the criteria

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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: 19.7 (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: £28,200,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £57,058
*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: Mary Creagh (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.


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: 01924 246000 ext 6068

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.


Last Inspection by HMCIP:
8–17 May 2012 Unannounced full follow-up inspection

Published: October 2012

Slowly improving but CSC and Segregation Unit ‘unfit for purpose’

They said:
“HMP Wakefield is a high security prison that holds about 750 men, many of whom are serious sex offenders. The Close Supervision Centre (CSC) within the prison is a nationally managed resource and holds seven of the most challenging prisoners in the entire system. It is no surprise, therefore, that progress in the behaviour and rehabilitation of men at Wakefield is often slow and small advances require enormous effort. As it is with the men it holds, so it is with the prison as a whole: this follow-up inspection found HMP Wakefield was making slow but tangible progress in the face of considerable challenges, some of which were outside the prison’s direct control.

“ The most significant concern we identified at our last inspection in 2009 remained. Almost half the men at Wakefield were in denial about their offence – to some degree refusing to take responsibility for their offending. There were no programmes available at Wakefield to tackle the behaviour and attitudes of men in denial and, as a consequence, little effective work was done with them. This risked entrenching negative attitudes and undermining the work that was being done with the section of the population who did admit to the need to change. The Prison Service should consider whether it is right to place such a concentration of men in denial in one establishment. That does not reduce the responsibility of HMP Wakefield itself to do some work with these men. There is now accepted expert opinion that it is possible to make some useful interventions even with men who are in complete denial, and the prison should be attempting to prepare and motivate men to change.

“ The prison had also been unable to address the physical environment of F Wing, which housed the CSC and segregation unit and remained very poor. In the CSC, the gated, cage-like cells were small and stark with limited natural light. The unscreened toilets were located directly in front of observation panels. Exercise yards consisted of bare, individual cages. There was some exercise equipment in a separate room. Limited education and visits could take place in a closed visits-style room in which a reinforced window separated the prisoner from whoever was speaking to him. Most of the men held had lived in these conditions for about three years; one for as long as 11 years.

“ The environment of the segregation unit was also poor. Some cells were damp, ventilation was inadequate, the roof needed repair and toilets were in an unacceptable condition. At the time of the inspection, most men had been in the segregation unit for at least a month and the longest had been there eight months. The regime was limited: adequate perhaps for men segregated for short periods but not sufficient for longer stays.

“ In the face of these conditions, the progress that staff had made was laudable. Relationships between staff and prisoners in both the CSC and segregation were professional and respectful. It was a real achievement that some men who had been held in the CSC had been able to move to less restrictive conditions. Mental health support was excellent and management and governance of both units was good.

“ Other aspects of the prison, both good and bad, were more directly the responsibility of the prison itself. The prison was reasonably safe. The numbers of self-harm, bullying and use of force incidents were low. Most prisoners reported feeling safe and this was confirmed by our own observations as we moved around the prison. Security arrangements were appropriate for a Category A prison and less intrusive than we sometimes see. There were good arrangements to support prisoners at risk of suicide. However, as in other high security prisons, we were concerned about the high rate of diversion and misuse of prescribed medication, and this was often a significant factor in bullying incidents. This could not be picked up by the drug testing system in use and the low positive testing figures did not accurately reflect the level of drug abuse in the prison. This issue had not been fully gripped and dealt with.

“ Allegations of victimisation by prisoners or staff were sometimes not handled well. The response to bullying was too often to move the victim rather than address the behaviour of the bully and we also identified a small number of serious complaints about staff that had not been properly investigated. Some records we examined did not provide the necessary assurance that the use of force had been necessary and proportionate.

“ However, overall relationships between staff and prisoners were good (although there were a number of significant exceptions). Other than F Wing, the environment was decent. Other aspects of a reasonably respectful environment were also in place. Health care had much improved since our last inspection. Equality and diversity arrangements were reasonable but the perceptions of prisoners from some minority groups remained worse than those of the population as a whole.

“ There was a good learning and skills strategy and the quality of activities on offer was good. However, there were insufficient activity places to meet the needs of the whole population. About 9% of prisoners were unemployed and some cleaners were underemployed. We found about a third of prisoners locked behind their doors during the working part of the day. As noted above, resettlement outcomes were seriously undermined by the lack of appropriate programmes to address the behaviour of the significant number of sex offenders in denial. Other aspects of offender management and resettlement were much better. Public protection arrangements were generally very good and community offender managers spoke positively of their relationships with the prison. Planning to meet prisoners’ practical resettlement needs was reasonable and most men went to approved premises on release.

“ The most significant concerns we have identified in this report require decisions by the National Offender Management Service at a national level: how best to manage sex offenders in denial and to ensure that the conditions of imprisonment for even for the most challenging prisoners does not fall below a basic acceptable level. These will not be easy problems to resolve. However, despite these difficulties HMP Wakefield has been able to make slow progress. Reducing the flow of diverted medication, continuing to strengthen professional staff-prisoner relationships and getting more prisoners occupied by making better use of the activity resources available are vital to sustaining and accelerating that progress.”

Nick Hardwick August 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Click Here to read the full report

Previous Report
by HMCIP: December 2008 (Announced Full Inspection)

They said:

“Wakefield is a dispersal prison in the high security estate, mainly holding those convicted of serious sexual offences. The last full announced inspection in 2003 recorded an over-controlled and negative culture, but our follow-up in 2005 found that the prison had begun to improve noticeably. This inspection found that most of those improvements had been sustained, and the prison was performing reasonably well in three of our four key areas, though there is still more to be done.

“Wakefield was, in general, a safe prison and this was confirmed by prisoners. However, it was not clear that suicide and self-harm, or violence reduction, procedures were properly targeted at the specific risks presented or faced by Wakefield’s particular population. In addition, the management of the segregation unit, which had been an example of good practice in 2004, had deteriorated in that it was simply containing prisoners, sometimes for long periods, rather than actively working with them. The same was true for exceptional risk prisoners in the close supervision centre. The physical environment of both units made them unfit for their purpose.

“Prisoners during the inspection were in general negative about their relationships with staff, though they also confirmed that some individual staff were positive and helpful. We did not ourselves observe any problematic staff behaviour during the week of inspection itself. There were, however, still examples of officers distancing themselves from prisoners during association, and the case-worker system – designed to ensure that personal officers motivated prisoners to engage with sentence plans – was not yet working well. A great deal of commendable and positive work was taking place in race relations and diversity, though black and minority ethnic prisoners surveyed were still considerably more negative than white prisoners in relation to safety and relationships with staff.

“The quality and quantity of activity available to prisoners at Wakefield had improved considerably over recent years, with a range of activities appropriate to a long-stay population. However, there were still insufficient spaces for all the population. Equally worrying was the fact that too many spaces were unfilled, so that at one time a third of prisoners could be locked in their cells. Data collection and analysis was insufficient to monitor or explain this.

“The most pressing problem at Wakefield was the disengagement from rehabilitative work of many prisoners, and the consequent failure to progress though sentence. A large proportion of prisoners denied their offences or were considered unsuitable for the sex offender treatment programmes provided by the large psychology department. The presence of so many prisoners in denial simply reinforced entrenched attitudes among those who refused to admit, or engage with, their offences. Even for those who did engage, opportunities to move to lower category prisons were extremely limited, hardly reinforcing the benefits of taking part in demanding programmes. Many prisoners felt, with some reason, that they were permanently marooned in Wakefield. The lack of sufficiently proactive relationships with staff was both a contributory factor to, and a consequence of, this negativity.

“This is something that the high security estate, as well as the prison, needs to grapple with. Wakefield needs a more balanced mix of prisoners, with a proportion ready and willing to engage in programmes; but the prison itself should also provide more one-to-one and counselling work, and reinforce the inadequate mental health service, in order to tackle the underlying reasons for refusal to engage. Re-categorisation decisions should reflect current risk and result in swift moves.

“Wakefield has improved considerably over the last five years and it is pleasing that in general the improvement has been sustained. There is still work to be done on aspects of safety, staff-prisoner relationships and activities, but the principal issue to be tackled is how to motivate and engage serious sexual offenders, so that their risk is reduced and they can progress through the prison system.”

Anne Owers February 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: October 2012

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December 2014 Headlines
> Treat Prisoners as Human Beings, Not Criminals
> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the governmentís Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didnít do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - donít let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
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