Prison report notes improvements

A PRISON dogged with a history of poor performance has seen “impressive” progress but still has many improvements to make, an inspectors' report has concluded.

By Roddy Ashworth

A PRISON dogged with a history of poor performance has seen “impressive” progress but still has many improvements to make, an inspectors' report has concluded.

Chelmsford Prison, in Springfield Road, was graded after an unannounced inspection in August of last year.

The Category B Jail - also a young offender institution - has improved key areas such as induction, race and resettlement but is still deficient in others, particularly in activity.


You may also want to watch:


The report found that:

n some safety procedures have improved, including the tackling of bullying and the presence of drugs in the prison

Most Read

n quality of accommodation was better, although variable

n healthcare was good, with a new healthcare centre

n race relations had improved

However, it noted that prisoners were spending too much time in their cells and there was not enough “purposeful activity” for them.

There was also an increase in the use of force, segregation and special cells and routine strip searching of those placed in segregation and special cells.

Yesterday, prison governor Steve Rodford, who was appointed around a year before the inspection took place, said he believed the report showed the prison - which has a problematic history in terms of the inadequacy of prisoner care and troubled industrial relations - was turning itself around.

“In the main I am really pleased. I think the report has highlighted some of the good work that has been done over the last 12 to 18 months, and recognises it was done by both management and staff,” he said.

“You can see that prisoners are being resettled and rehabilitated from all sections in the jail.

“The days when prisoners went to the gym and just ran around have gone. Everything now is based on NVQs and training which is useful in the outside world. There is a real effort to resettle prisoners in the community.”

Responding to the criticism contained in the report, Mr Rodford said: “We have taken the points seriously and are addressing them.

“Regarding force, it is only used as a last resort. The relationship between the staff and prisoners is excellent.”

He added that the statistics for the use of force in the jail had been skewed because of a particular problem between members of two different ethnic groups in one of the jail's wings.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus