July 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Prison inspectors still have serious concerns about a number of matters at Norwich Prison, although it is improving, according to a new report.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report, which covers the period from March 2013 to February this year, said: “A number of matters seriously concern the board. But overall Norwich Prison is an improving prison.”
The report raised particular concerns about overcrowding at several prisons in the eastern region.
It said: “Prisoners are being transported on long journeys, too late into the evening, in order to reach a prison with spaces to take them.
“This has resulted in prisoners who have arrived at Norwich Prison as late as 8.45pm, after healthcare day shifts have ended and who have not been fully and safely processed until after midnight.”
The report also highlighted the need for prisoners with mental health issues to be better identified.
It said: “Although mechanisms are in place, there remain major difficulties and unnecessary delays in allocating prisoners with severe mental health issues to more suitable secure facilities.
“We consider it is inhumane to incarcerate prisoners with serious mental health issues within a prison rather than in appropriate secure facilities with specialist trained staff.”
Also of concern, was that there were no sex offender treatment programmes at Norwich Prison, and that cells designed as singles had been doubled, with no privacy for prisoners using the toilet and room for only one chair in the cell. Concerns are also still being raised about whether the safety of staff and prisoners at the prison can be maintained in the face of government cuts.
The report also found that the meagre daily budget for food for prisoners was inadequate in view of continuing rises in food prices.
However, many of the concerns raised in the previous year’s report have been improved.
The report stated that inadequate staff training and high levels of staff sickness was much improved and the take-up of education spaces was improving, but more needed to be done.
The low classroom attendance reported last year had also improved, and the report said some aspects of the prison’s work should be commended, with many staff members managing to interact well with prisoners.