WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 12 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Staffing pressures at Britain’s largest super-prison ‘undermining’ morale

Staffing pressures at Britain’s largest super-prison ‘undermining’ morale

Staffing pressures were ‘undermining’ morale and contributed to a peak in self-harm at Britain’s largest prison which opened five years ago at a cost of £250m. According to the latest inspection into category C ‘superprison’ HMP Berwyn,  problems were holding back recovery from the pandemic. Chief inspector Charlie Taylor said that the regime at the ‘competently run’ prison, presently holding 1,835 prisoners, was improving but ‘too many prisoners spent too long locked up in their cells, not enough were engaged in meaningful activity’. 

Inspectors reported that ‘too many prisoners did not have enough activity or time unlocked, especially unemployed prisoners’. ‘There were insufficient education and work places for the population,’ they continued. ‘Prisoners’ attendance in education, training and employment was not good enough. Not enough was done to encourage prisoners to attend activities and often only about 60% of prisoners allocated to an activity turned up.’ A staff shortage was affecting ‘leaders’ ability to deliver a fully functioning rehabilitative regime’. 

Levels of violence and self-harm ‘remained too high’ and inspectors noted issues with both sets of data. The rate of self-harm over the past 12 months was ‘higher than at most similar prisons’ although it had decreased over the last 12 months. ‘Following a peak in levels of self-harm in mid-2021, analysis identified an important link between staff attitudes and behaviours and high levels of self-harm,’ the inspectors recorded.