Could you help monitor standards inside these Suffolk prisons?

Hollesley Parish Council has now received information about sex offenders transferred to the prison

Hollesley Bay and Warren Hill's independent monitoring boards are looking for new members - Credit: Archant

It is often said that the mark of a good society is how its treats its prisoners.

And now, you could have the chance to inspect how a Suffolk jail manages its criminals - by making regular visits to monitor the conditions and standards inside.

By law, every prison is required to have an Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) to check on the jail's performance and how inmates are being treated.

Hollesley Bay prison, near Woodbridge Picture: GOOGLE

Independent monitors 'can make a real difference to prison life', it is said - Credit: Google

Organisers say joining the IMB at Hollesley Bay and Warren Hill, near Woodbridge, "could be the most rewarding thing you have ever done" - with an insight into a world few others get to see, at least if you stay on the right side of the law.

Those who are appointed will visit the Category C and D jails two to three times a month, monitoring its activities and talking to prisoners to make sure they are being treated fairly.

They also produce an annual report about standards inside the prisons and would be called in the event of major incidents, such as disturbances and assaults.

The volunteers also deal with any complaints from Hollesley Bay's 485 inmates - who are serving the last stages of their sentences - and the 250 at Warren Hill, whose prisoners are undergoing rehabilitation programmes designed to give them the chance to show a Parole Board they are suitable for release on licence.

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Maggie Menzies, Warren Hill IMB chairwoman, said: “It could be the most rewarding thing you have ever done. 

Dean Page has been arrested after going missing from Hollesley Bay Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The role offers a chance to see a side of the criminal justice system few others get to witness

"You can make a real difference to prison life, not just in responding to an individual prisoner’s request or complaint, but also by raising concerns about everything from crumbling buildings to people being kept in solitary confinement for too long.

“You see the criminal justice system from the inside and work as part of a really dedicated IMB team.

"Anyone over 18 can apply - prisoners come from all backgrounds and so should our members.” 

Key qualities needed include analysis, decision making, communication and teamworking skills.

Monitors must also be committed to independence and inclusion, as well as have an open-minded approach.

However, no formal qualifications are required for the role.

Applicants will need to undergo selection and vetting processes, which can take a number of months.

Those who are successful are formally appointed by the justice secretary Robert Buckland.

The role is unpaid but travel, childcare and loss of earnings expenses are available.

Comprehensive training and support is also provided.  

Those who are interested are asked to book onto a virtual event being held during April or apply direct at https://www.imb.org.uk/11082-2/

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