HMP Wayland: Moving in a Positive Direction

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HMP Wayland, near Thetford in rural Norfolk and housing many prisoners on long sentences, was a “very well-led” prison making some progress toward becoming safer after a sharp rise in violence over the last four years, according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

The jail, with almost 1,000 men, was confronting problems of violence and illicit drugs with some apparent success, inspectors found in an unannounced visit in June 2017. They also noted that work to support learning and vocational opportunities was good and nearly two-thirds of prisoners felt Wayland had helped them become less likely to reoffend.

Peter Clarke, HM Inspector of Prisons, said the category C prison – with over two-thirds of prisoners serving more than four years and just over 100 serving life sentences – was moving in a positive direction.

Though assaults had risen sharply since the last inspection in 2013, and violence remained “very high”, it had begun to fall in the months leading up to the inspection. Mr Clarke said safety was a key priority and meaningful work was being done to confront violence and reduce it, and this seemed to be having an effect, though  it  was yet to be reflected in improved prisoner confidence.

Illicit drugs were also a problem and nearly half of prisoners surveyed thought it was easy to obtain drugs and alcohol. However, “as with the prison’s approach to violence reduction, useful strategies were in place to cut off supply and there was some evidence of successes.”

Ofsted inspectors who accompanied HMIP inspectors found the overall effectiveness of learning and vocational opportunities to be good. Similarly, Mr Clarke noted: “Wayland took its responsibilities as a resettlement prison seriously…Nearly two thirds of prisoners thought that the prison had assisted them in making them less likely to reoffend. Reintegration and release planning was generally good.”

Offending behaviour work was also effective, and in particular the personality disorder (PDU) and psychologically informed planned environment (PIPE) units were excellent. The presence of these units was found to be helpful to the overall culture of the prison. Prisoners were assessed for around five months on the PDU to determine if they had a personality disorder; those who did then remained on the unit for around 18 months and then moved onto the PIPE unit as part of their progression.

Wayland remained a generally respectful prison, inspectors concluded. The environment was reasonable, although some cells needed to be cleaner. Access to in-cell telephones and secure laptops that eased access to administrative systems was an example of good practice. Consultation with minority groups was very good, although this had still to realise measurable improvement in outcomes for, and the perceptions of, minority groups. Many black and minority ethnic men came from London, felt far from home and regarded the lack of black or Asian staff as a problem.

Mr Clarke said:

“Overall, Wayland was, in our view, making progress and this is an encouraging report. Our assessment has had to balance a number of objective measures, many of which still need to improve further, with more dynamic measures such as the clear energy and determination within the prison to improve matters. The prison was very well led, while plans for improvement were active and substantive, taking the prison forward in a positive direction.”

Michael Spurr, CEO of HM Prison and Probation Service, said:

“The Chief Inspector has commended the positive work being done at Wayland to tackle violence and drug use and to support effective rehabilitation. The progress being made in challenging circumstances is a credit to the Governor and the staff. We will use the recommendations in the report to achieve further improvements over the coming months.”

Source: Justice Inspectorates