HMIPS Standard 5
Respect, Autonomy and Protection Against Mistreatment
A climate of mutual respect exists between staff and prisoners. Prisoners are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and their future. Their rights to statutory protections and complaints processes are respected.
Throughout the prison, staff and prisoners have a mutual understanding and respect for each other and their responsibilities. They engage with each other positively and constructively. Prisoners are kept well informed about matters which affect them and are treated humanely and with understanding. If they have problems or feel threatened they are offered effective support. Prisoners are encouraged to participate in decision making about their own lives. The prison co-operates positively with agencies which exercise statutory powers of complaints, investigation or supervision.
Overall rating: Generally Acceptable
Overall, the findings from inspection in this Standard were generally acceptable but there were some areas of poor performance.
It appeared that staff were aware of the principles underpinning how and when information should be shared between prisoners and their families. Prisoners also indicated that they had positive experience of staff being supportive when difficult information had been shared.
In general, staff prisoner relationships were observed as respectful, but inspectors were concerned about the management of inappropriate behaviour and language, which in turn raised concerns about the management of control and order in Ellon Hall. Of note was the lack of challenge by staff when protection prisoners were being repeatedly verbally abused on route to exercise. This was a high-risk area and concerns were escalated to the senior management; recommendations are made in relation to this.
It was noted that confidentiality was typically respected and practices were generally acceptable. However, there were some issues regarding security of information in relation to staff use of computers. Prisoners were able to walk behind the staff console and view the SSM booklets and PR2 screens. This was escalated at the time of the inspection. However it was apparent that the prison were working to improve confidentiality and it was noteworthy that the business improvement manager (BIM) for example was working with law firms to ensure that legal correspondence was appropriately marked so that it could be processed accordingly.
The regime was unpredictable with frequent changes, delays and cancellations to services because of staffing shortages. On examination of the records, Protection prisoners appeared to be disproportionately affected. This was an area of poor performance and recommendations are made in relation to this.
Overall, the canteen and catering processes appeared to be working well and to the satisfaction to the prisoner population.
Although there were recreational activities available for all, there were variations across the different cohorts, with protection prisoners being disproportionately affected by restrictions or conflicts. We have recommended a review of the regime timetabling so that prisoners do not need to choose between entitlements.
Similarly, although the information available to prisoners was generally acceptable, recommendations are made to improve access for non-English speakers.
Prisoner complaints were operating satisfactorily with good audit processes in place. An ICC was observed chaired by a unit manager. The complaint was dealt with compassionately and sensitively whilst providing the individual with a clear reason for the decision. The process and relevant documentation was shared with the individual and he left with a clear understanding for the decision. Although improvements to the complaint process could be made to support those with lower levels of literacy; this was an area of good practice.
The Independent Prison Monitoring (IPM) scheme was advertised in all of the residential areas and prisoners and staff were aware of the IPM role.