Ford Prison has been found to be ‘safe and well run’ but to be offering accommodation below acceptable standards, according to an independent report.
The Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB) report released this week, covers the year to October 31, 2017, and repeats its previous criticism of the prisoner accommodation which it said was in poor condition.
It stated that weaknesses in the prison service’s privatised maintenance contract with Carillion had caused long delays in getting repairs done and the prison service had failed to provide funds in 2017 for much-needed CCTV cameras to help control drug infiltration.
The board also outlined its disappointment that ‘much-needed’ refurbishment of B Wing had been ‘patchy and mostly amounting to little more than a lick of paint and the replacement of some kitchen equipment’.
IMB Ford chairman, Geoffrey Archer, said: “Many of the problems at Ford Prison are the result of national issues, rather than local failures. Outsourcing prison maintenance work to Carillion resulted in longer waits to get things fixed.”
He added that the contracting-out of much of the probation service ‘has not improved the support of prisoners’ when they were released. “Our monitoring showed that more than 10 per cent of prisoners leave Ford with no fixed address to stay at.”
Improvements were noted in monitoring of equalities, after the last HMIP inspection at Ford in 2016 found evidence of prisoners feeling racially discriminated against when applying for single rooms.
The board was also said to be impressed with the counselling of prisoners to contribute to the generally safe conditions.
Incidents of violence was also detailed as remaining low with four episodes recorded during the year.