New support plan to improve jails
A new intensive support programme will help challenging jails to improve safety and rehabilitation, Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer announced today (28 February 2020)
• HMP Wormwood Scrubs, Bedford and Feltham among first to benefit
• more staff, new technology and maintenance improvements will play key part
• will build on success of 10 Prisons Project with a data-driven approach
The Prison Performance Support Programme (PPSP) replaces Special Measures, and will offer a significant package of tailored support managed from a dedicated operations room.
Building on lessons learned from the 10 Prisons Project, a small number of chosen jails will be boosted by measures including additional staff, enhanced standards training and tough airport-style security, in order to bring stability.
Prisons and Probation Minister Lucy Frazer QC MP, said:
"We know that some prisons face deep-rooted issues that cannot be fixed overnight, which is why this programme will be vital to support and improve them.
"This co-ordinated, intensive support represents a step up in our response to the long-term challenges affecting certain jails.
"Allied to the £2.75 billion this government is investing to transform the estate, improve security and promote rehabilitation, this is another way in which we will drive up standards."
Six prisons - HMPs Pentonville, Wormwood Scrubs, Bedford, Bristol, Hewell and Feltham A - will initially receive this bespoke support, and have been chosen following a detailed assessment.
The jails will benefit from additional funding to improve living and working conditions, and a Standards Coaching Team will develop staff confidence and skills – something that proved successful during the 10 Prisons Project.
PJ Butler, Governor at HMP Bedford, said:
"As the Governor of one our most challenging prisons, I appreciate the support being given to me and my team by the Prison Performance Support Programme. The investment in modern technology and additional resources will greatly help us to restrict the supply of drugs and other illicit items, which cause misery and harm.
"Our aim at Bedford is to return responsible citizens, not offenders, to their communities and the PPSP will help us to do this."
PPSP will use data to focus on reducing violence and self-harm with the aim of raising standards as quickly as possible. It will be overseen by an operations room team at Prison Service HQ, that will work closely with staff on the ground.
As the programme progresses, there will be continued analysis of other prisons across the estate, and support will be adapted accordingly. Depending on what is determined using the data and operational judgement, prisons will move in and out of PPSP according to greatest need.
The initiative will sit alongside the government’s £2.75 billion commitment to transform the prison estate with:
• £100 million to bolster prison security, clamping down on the weapons, drugs and mobile phones that fuel violence, self-harm and crime behind bars
• £2.5 billion to provide 10,000 additional prison places and create modern, efficient jails that rehabilitate offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe
• £156 million to tackle the most pressing maintenance issues to create safe and decent conditions for offender rehabilitation