Select Committee on Home Affairs First Report


ANNEX 4

THE COMMITTEE'S PRISON DIARY PROJECT

For an outline description of the project, see paragraphs 33-37 of the Report.

Results

1.  Length of Sentence and Distance from Home

Table 1 shows details of sentence length for the survey respondents. The majority of responding prisoners (57%) were serving four years or longer, very few were serving sentences of less than one year. Similar numbers had spent less than six months (37.5%) or between six months and two years (38.8%) at their current prison establishment. Together these groups accounted for almost 80% of responding prisoners. Whilst about 34% of prisoner were held between 10 and 50 miles from their home, a third of responding prisoners were held between 50 and 100 miles from their home and another 30% were held over 100 miles form home. 17% of responding prisoners were held more than 200 miles away from their home.


2.  Prisoners' Views of Prison

The chart below and Table 2 set out prisoners' views about their current prison. The Diary included a section on prisoners' views of the prison in which they were held. Prisoners were asked whether or not they agreed with a series of statements. 72% agreed with statements that they felt safe and that prisoner and staff relations were good. 36% disagreed with the statement that they were given respect. 14% of responding prisoners stated that they suffered from racial discrimination. This figure rose to 37% among those that identified their ethnic group as non-white.

Both HMP Springhill and HMP Wolds had a consistently above average level of agreement with the statements that prisoners felt safe, were given respect and that relations with staff were good. HMYOI Aylesbury and HMP Elmley had above average numbers disagreeing with the statement that they felt safe (although still the minority) and HMP Elmley had a relatively high number disagreeing with the statement that they felt safe. HMP Elmley had a below average proportion of prisoners on the incentive and earned privilege scheme and HMP Brockhill had only a minority. HMP Springhill, HMP Swaleside and HMP Wolds all had high levels.

Prisoners' views and resettlement activity

Responses to the following statements
Yes
No
Not answered
In this prison, I feel safe
215
71.9%
73
24.5%
11
3.7%
In this prison, I am given respect
191
63.9%
91
30.4%
17
5.7%
In this prison, I suffer racial discrimination
42
14.0%
240
80.3%
17
5.7%
among all non-white groups that answered
18
36.7%
28
59.2%
3
59.2%
I am on the Incentive and Earned Privilege Scheme
191
63.9%
88
29.4%
20
6.7%
Prisoner and staff relations are good here
215
71.9%
61
20.4%
23
7.7%
I have a home to return to on release
188
62.9%
108
36.1%
3
1.0%
I have been given advice about finding accommodation
57
19.1%
223
74.6%
19
6.4%
I have a job to go to on release
92
30.8%
199
66.6%
8
2.7%
I have been given advice about finding a job
49
16.4%
235
78.6%
15
5.0%




3.  Resettlement

The chart below shows that over 60% of responding prisoners indicated they had a home to return to on release but less than 30% had a job on release. Significantly, levels of advice about accommodation and jobs were both low at 19% and 16% respectively.


Prisoner responses about resettlement activity varied greatly according to prison establishment. HMYOI Aylesbury, HMP Wolds and HMP Springhill all had higher than average proportions of prisoners who had received advice about accommodation or work on release. Very few prisoners at HMP Elmley or HMP Swaleside had received such advice. This is unsurprising at HMP Swaleside, which is a category B prison where virtually all prisoners are serving long sentences. The proportion of respondents with a home to return to on release also varied, from the average at HMP Elmley which had particularly low levels and HMP Wolds where they were well above average.

4.  Purposeful Activity

Although this survey was not specifically designed to calculate whether prisoners spent less than 24 hours out of their cell in this week, it can be used to make an estimate. On this basis, 19% of responding prisoners spent less than 26 hours out of their cell each week. The rate of day releases and cancelled classes were both 11%.

The table below provides a full breakdown of time spent in education, vocational training, prison work, offending behaviour programmes/drug treatment programmes and gym, sports or association.

Daily number of hours spent on the various activities


Over 60% of responding prisoners spent no time in vocational training or offending behaviour programmes/drug treatment programmes, 47% spent no time in education and 31% spent no time in prison work. One in six had no time during the week in gym, sports or association.

Prisoners at HMYOI Aylesbury spent less time out of their cells on average, reflecting low levels of prison work. The opposite was true for HMP Wolds and HMP Springhill, the latter having a particularly high level of day releases (33%). In general, most prisons that had a particularly high level of one type of purposeful activity had correlating low rates of other types of activity. Hence HMP Springhill and HMP Swaleside, which had high levels of participation in prison work, had lower than average levels of education and vocational training courses. HMP Brockhill and HMYOI Aylesbury had higher levels of education and vocational training courses, but lower levels of less prisoners engaged in work. HMP Wolds was something of an exception: prisoners had above average levels in education, vocational training and prison work as well as gym, sports or association.

The results for the 171 prisoners on sentences of four years of more were, overall, similar to the average for the whole sample. There were a few differences however. These prisoners were more likely to be on the incentive and earned privilege scheme. They also tended to spend less time out of their cell each day and were more likely to do prison work for more than three hours a day.

5.  Profile of Individual Prisons

HMYOI Aylesbury

At the time of our visit, Aylesbury Young Offenders' Institution held 330 prisoners. The majority of responding prisoners (56%) were white, just under one-third were black with the remainder came from Asian or mixed ethnic background. Around one in seven were serving sentences of between 12 months and four years, the rest were serving sentences of over 4 years. 89% of prisoners had a current sentence plan.

HMYOI Aylesbury provided four different offending behaviour programmes, 11 education and 5 vocational courses. Each of the education and vocational courses had recognised qualifications. Prisoners spent an average of 19.3 hours per week on purposeful activity in the year to date. HMYOI Aylesbury has a 12-step drug treatment (RAPt) course, with 62 entrants in 2002/03 and 54 in 2003/04.

The response rate from HMYOI Aylesbury was 55%, the highest of any of the prisons targeted. Completed responses represented just over one-sixth of the March 2004 population. The respondents from HMYOI Aylesbury were typically serving longer sentences than the Project sample as a whole, with 68% serving four years or more. Distances from prisoners' homes were further than average and this is partly due to the smaller number of YOIs across the prison estate. The majority of responding prisoners felt they were safe, were given respect and that relations with staff were good, although the proportion who agreed with these statements was slightly smaller than at other prisons studied. The proportion who received advice about accommodation or work after release were 32% and 26% respectively, a minority, although above the average of the other prisons in the Project. Over 75% of responding prisoners did not have a job to go to on release, higher than most other prisons studied.

Prisoners at HMYOI Aylesbury tended to spend less time out of their cell. In over 70% of cases, this was less than four hours a day. Despite the high rate of cancelled classes, responding prisoners were more likely to attend education or vocational classes as compared to the other prisons studied. They were significantly less likely to spend time in work at the prison.

HMP Brockhill

There were a relatively small number of responses from HMP Brockhill, but due to the size of the prison, these represented almost one-quarter of its March 2004 population. Prisoners at HMP Brockhill typically had not yet been sentenced and had been held at the prison for a short length of time. Respondents also tended to live relatively close, with just under 50% living between 50 and 100 miles away. Views of the institution were fairly uniform, with the majority of responding prisoners agreeing with statements that they felt safe, were given respect and that relations with staff were good. A smaller number of prisoners were on the incentive and earned privilege scheme, probably reflecting the short length of time they had been there. The proportion who had received some advice about accommodation was relatively high at 29%.

Respondents from HMP Brockhill had a similar number of hours out of their cell to the average from other prisons studied, although they were less likely to have less than two hours out a day. The proportion of days where prisoners attended education classes was high, with a noticeable number on courses lasting more than 3 hours. There were few responding prisoners who attended any vocational courses, a trend repeated elsewhere. Prisoners at HMP Brockhill were less likely to do any prison work and time spent in gym, sports or association was well below that for the other prisons taking part in the Project. On 65% of occasions, no time was spent on these activities in a day and in 30% of cases, only one hour.

HMP Elmley

HMP Elmley currently runs 18 educational and vocational courses, the majority of which have recognised qualifications on completion, and seven offending behaviour programmes. Further courses are in development. The main types of purposeful activity at the prison in 2003-04 were association (47%) and core work (21%). Educational and vocational time accounted for 7% and 4% respectively. In 2003/04, the first full year that the substance misuse team was in operation, 1,331 prisoners underwent a Detoxification programme. In the same year, 193 prisoners started tier 2 and 3 interventions for drug rehabilitation, 72% completed these interventions.

Prisoners are not put on community placement at HMP Elmley: those that are suitable are progressed to open conditions.

The Committee received 71 responses from prisoners at HMP Elmley, a slightly worse than average response rate. Respondents from HMP Elmley tended to be on shorter sentences, or had not yet been sentenced; only 30% were serving 4 years or more. Around 50% of responding prisoners had been at HMP Elmley for less than six months and the majority lived within 50 miles of the prison. All these findings are consistent with would be expected in the case of a local prison. Although, as at the other prisons selected for the Project, a majority agreed with statements that they felt safe, were given respect and that relations with staff were good, the majority was markedly smaller than in the case of any other prison studied, and a significant minority at HMP Elmley did not agree with these statements. A smaller proportion of prisoners was on the incentive and earned privilege scheme. Those with and without homes to go to on release were found in equal measure. In addition, very few prisoners had received advice about accommodation (7%) or jobs (12%).

Time out of cell followed a broadly similar pattern to that seen on average across all the prisons selected to take part in the Project. Fewer prisoners attended education classes than at other prisons and on just three occasions in the week did any of the responding prisoners participate in vocational training programmes.

HM Prisons Grendon and Springhill

At mid-March 2004, HMP Grendon held 222 prisoners: 168 (76%) category B, 50 (23%) category C and 3 category D. A large majority (82%) of prisoners were white, with prisoners from the different black ethnic backgrounds forming the largest (10%) minority group. Only one prisoner was serving less than 4 years. At the same date, HMP Springhill held 321 prisoners, all of whom were category D. The majority of prisoners (67%) were serving sentences of four years or more, 28% were serving between 12 months and four years and 5% less than 12 months. The only ethnic group with a significantly different distribution of sentence lengths was Black Caribbean. In this group, over 90% were serving sentences of four years or more. 87% and 90% of prisoners had current sentence plans at HMP Grendon and HMP Springhill respectively.

A total of 33 education courses were listed on the education contract at HMP Grendon and 37 at Springhill. Neither prison offers offending behaviour programmes or alcohol or drug treatment programmes, although as a Therapeutic Community prison, HMP Grendon automatically builds such courses into its basic regime. The number of prisoners on day release at HMP Springhill varies from 90-110 (in the region of one-third of the current population). In 2003, 60% of prisoners released from Springhill went on to employment or education, whilst 88% had accommodation. The average distance from home to Springhill was 46.5 miles.

All responding prisoners from HMP Springhill had been sentenced: one-third to between one and four years and two-thirds to more than four years. About a half of responding prisoners had been held at HMP Springhill for less than six months. The respondents were positive about the prison environment, with 80% agreeing with the statements that they felt safe and were given respect. Only slightly fewer thought that relations with staff were good. 87% were on the incentive and earned privilege scheme, again above average. Similar relatively high numbers had received advice about work and accommodation and a majority had a job to go to on release.

80% of responding prisoners indicated that they spent more than eight hours out of their cell in a day, well above any other prison taking part in the Project. This figure of course relates to the high levels of day release at the prison, which at 33% is well above the average rate seen elsewhere. Prison work patterns were also different: work took up 6 or more hours of the day, which is double the average of the other prisons studied. High levels of day release also explain the lower amount of time spent on education or vocational training.

HMP Standford Hill

In early April 2004, the prison population of HMP Standford Hill stood at 433 category D prisoners. 63% were white, 24% black and 8% Asian. The largest group (46%) was serving sentences of over four years, 37% were serving sentence terms of between 12 months and four years and 18% were serving less than 12 months.

HMP Standford Hill provides a range of education courses, taught at a variety of levels. It offers Enhanced Thinking Skills, an offending behaviour programme. It also runs 13 vocational courses, almost all sports related. All but one of these courses provides a recognised qualification on completion. The prison does not deliver any drug or alcohol detoxification services, although it does run short intervention group programmes. According to statistics provided to us by HMP Standford, on average each prisoner spent 37-40 hours in purposeful activity per month and 55 hours per month in association in to year 2003-04.

Prisoners with more than 18 months left to serve when they arrive at HMP Stanford Hill are eligible for community and work placements outside the prison. At mid-June 2004, 28 prisoners from HMP Stanford were attending community placements, 19 were on paid work placements, 2 were on jobseeker programmes and 17 were attending external education and training. The prison also operates a job centre and a housing advice centre.

HM Prison Swaleside

In early April 2004, HMP Swaleside held 776 prisoners, the vast majority of who were category B (82%) with a further 12% in category C and 6% uncategorised. 61% of the prison population was white, 27% black and 6% Asian. No prisoners were serving sentences of less than one year and only 20 had sentences of less than five years. 74.4% of prisoners had current sentence plans.

According to information provided to us by the prison, education and vocational courses come under ten broad headings, with a range of qualifications and study levels available. In addition HMP Swaleside runs ten offending behaviour courses, a drug detox course, a RAPt and two CARAT courses. In 2002-03 and 2003-04, 77 prisoners completed the drug detox course, 54 the CARAT courses and 90 the RAPt course. The average number of purposeful activity hours per prisoner varied greatly from week to week over 2003-04.

Only a small number of prisoners are directly released from HMP Swaleside due to their security status. Prisoners that are released are seen 10 weeks beforehand by the education department and jobcentre plus. On average, these departments see one such prisoner a week. No statistics have been provided by the prison on post-release education or employment.

HMP Swaleside was the only category B prison selected for the Prison Diary Project. This is reflected in the fact that responding prisoners tended to be on long sentences, had been held at the prison for some time and live further away than average from their home locality. An average proportion of responding prisoners agreed with statements that they felt safe, were respected and that relations with staff were good. A high number were on the incentive and earned privilege scheme. A significant proportion of responding prisoners (26%) said they suffered from racial discrimination, including a number of prisoners who identified themselves as white. A very small proportion of inmates had received advice about jobs or accommodation on release.

On the whole, more time was spent out of cell at HMP Swaleside than the average seen at the other prisons studied. Levels of education and vocation courses were typical, as was the proportion that did some prison work, although those that worked tended to do so for longer periods than the average.

HM Prison Wolds

Responding prisoners from HMP Wolds had an average sentence pattern, but they were more likely to have been at HMP Wolds for less than six months (58%). 50% lived within 50 miles of the prison. Although there was a relatively small number of returns from HMP Wolds (26), those received expressed overwhelmingly positive views about the prison. A very large majority agreed with statements that they felt safe, were given respect and that relations with staff were good. A higher than average number had a home to return to on release and had received advice about accommodation. Respondents from HMP Wolds were, however, less likely to have a job on release.

Two-thirds of responding prisoners spent more than eight hours out of their cell in a day. Participation in education courses, vocational training, and prison work were all above average levels. Similarly, respondents were more likely to spend more than 4 hours a day in gym, sports or association.




 
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Prepared 7 January 2005