HMIPS Standard 7
Transitions from Custody to Life in the Community
Prisoners are prepared for their successful return to the community.
The prison is active in supporting prisoners for returning successfully to their community at the conclusion of their sentence. The prison works with agencies in the community to ensure that resettlement plans are prepared, including specific plans for employment, training, education, healthcare, housing and financial management.
Overall rating: Good
There were extensive structures in place, which supported partner agencies working to deliver jointly agreed release plans. Prison managers were meeting with strategic planning groups at community justice authority and local authority level. However, future planning was not communicated well enough with partner agencies and agencies were unsure of future involvement as contracts ended.
The Links Centre provided a good location, which helped joint working and was accessible to prisoners. It was a concern that staff shortages amongst prison officers was preventing prisoners from accessing appointments when staff were diverted elsewhere from operational necessity. Agencies in the Links Centre worked well together and inspectors observed good relationships.
There were no advocacy services on offer and foreign language translation was limited at point of admission and throughout the sentence.
There was a good CMB and progression system, with good systems in place that helped to overcome staffing inexperience. There had been no recent training of Personal Officers, with knowledge of the role demonstrably uneven amongst staff. A reinvigorated personal officer scheme is needed to address these shortcomings.
Performance improved substantially during pre-release planning. The throughcare support officers (TSO) role was very well developed and made a key contribution before and after release. The family centre provided good support to families, with strong joint work by third sector agencies in supporting families and prisoners, both practically and emotionally. The Keeping it Together initiative involving partner organisations and SHMU used video and other media to provide advice support and information to families of those involved in the criminal justice process is good practice.
TSOs were carrying out some very good and unusual activity around the Community Integration Units (CIUs) prisoners and work placements, sustaining effective continuity. They continue to provide good support post release but community effectiveness was limited by poor IT. If provided it could offset some of the pressure of recent staffing shortages. The court attendance system and the prompt intervention allowed key information from TSOs to be shared in the court at an early stage to allow a more informed decision by the judiciary. This early intervention and well-established joint working is an area of good practice in HMP YOI Grampian.
Some difficulties were encountered in supporting and ensuring access to development programmes. Staffing pressures limited the number of programmes run and access to programmes by prisoners was governed by national prioritisation policies. The national waiting list is not resolving the progression issues and is considered disruptive.