Urgent action to improve HMP Bristol

Prisons Minister Damian Hinds has today (25 August 2023) outlined a package of urgent reforms to improve safety, rehabilitation and performance at HMP Bristol

  • expert teams brought in to drive improvements in safety
  • extra staff recruited to boost access to work and education
  • new training for those who work closely with the most vulnerable prisoners

The action plan published today overhauls the prison’s safety strategy and brings in expert teams to support prison officers on the ground.

It details the government’s response to His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) report last month, after serious failings were identified by HMIP which resulted in an Urgent Notification – giving Ministers 28 days to set out how they will address the concerns.

Significant improvements are already underway and outlined in the Action Plan, including:

  • Support from expert teams within the Prison Service to provide extensive training to staff in order to drive the necessary improvements.
  • New training for staff who work closely with the most vulnerable prisoners to ensure adequate support is in place for prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm.
  • Increased budgets to enable better access to education, skills and work to ensure prisoners have the appropriate time out of cell and best possible chance of turning their lives around.
  • Refurbishments to areas of the prison, including shower and toilet upgrades and stairway flooring replacement.
  • A new taskforce set up to learn and implement best practice from other prisons on reducing violence and self-harm rates.
  • In response to staffing pressures, HMPPS will support the Governor and staff members to develop the vision for the prison and we will launch a local recruitment drive to drive up the numbers of prison officers in post.

The action plan published today also details how Ministers will continue to build upon these improvements and hold the prison to account.

Prisons Minister Damian Hinds said:

"These inspection findings were unacceptable and we have taken immediate action to improve safety and performance at HMP Bristol.

"Additional experienced staff will be brought in to help reduce violence and improve safety, we’re carrying out urgent refurbishments and are increasing the number of healthcare staff to help the most vulnerable prisoners.

"I am confident these actions will create the right conditions at HMP Bristol so officers can concentrate on rehabilitating prisoners to cut crime and better protect the public."

The government introduced the Urgent Notification process in 2017 to ensure immediate, urgent action was taken when necessary to address serious concerns identified by inspectors.

Ministry of Justice
HM Prison and Probation Service
The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP