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 that 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 that exercise statutory powers of complaints, investigation or supervision.
Overall Rating: Generally acceptable performance
Staff and prisoners within HMP Addiewell reported that, despite some significant staffing challenges, positive and respectful relationships existed. However, there was a significant barrier to those relationships having the best outcomes for prisoners. A large number of staff and prisoners spoken with commented on the issues that staff shortages and inconsistency of staff deployment had on fostering positive, productive and enduring relationships. Staff regularly commented on being cross‑deployed on an almost routine basis, which made getting to know those in their care much more difficult. When you consider this alongside the fact that over one‑third of the staff group had less than two years’ custodial experience, it was surprising and a credit to the staff that such positive relationships existed.
Whilst the establishment did not operate a personal officer scheme, it was clear that the staff working within the case management team made significant efforts to encourage prisoners, and their families, to engage in case conferences and other sentence‑related areas. This was significant as such engagement can only be a positive factor. However, the lack of a personal officer scheme meant that prisoner engagement with hall staff was more routine, and therefore hall staff were less likely to be seen as agents of change.
Despite HMP Addiewell being a modern prison, it was surprising how little private space was available within the halls for staff and prisoners to engage in confidential conversations. Whilst staff did what they could to facilitate these conversations, they were reluctant to utilise the spaces within the hub areas, as doing so would leave their colleague in the hall on their own.
One aspect that arose on a number of occasions, in a number of different areas of the inspection, was the impact that compliance with the contract had on the establishment. Staff and prisoners reported that the contractual requirement to provide 40 hours of purposeful activity every week for every prisoner impacted on the predictability of the regime. Staff were being pulled from other areas to ensure that purposeful activity was available, even when the available spaces were not filled. The result of this was that on Tuesday 7 August 2018, the requisite number of spaces were provided, yet there were approximately 400 prisoners located within the halls who were not engaged in any form of purposeful activity. When spoken to, prisoners were almost universal in their observation that time went slowly in HMP Addiewell because they were idle for large parts of the day. It appeared illogical that staff were under‑utilised within for example the gym, when prisoners were idle in the halls.
HMIPS were surprised to note that in an establishment of 700 prisoners, 144 were employed as hall passmen or hall ambassadors. Whilst it was noted that the establishment was clean, it should not be the case that each hall containing approximately 64 prisoners had nine passmen and three ambassadors.
It was of considerable concern that prisoners on protection within Douglas B hall did not have a regime, did not get access to induction and could be locked in their cells for 22 hours per day. This issue was escalated to the Director and assurances were received that this situation would be rectified as a matter of urgency. HMIPS will return to HMP Addiewell before the publication of this report to assess the regime available to all protection prisoners, especially those in Douglas B hall.