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Last week I visited HMP Five Wells, the newly built prison just outside Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. The main building work is now largely complete and it is due to open in February 2022, to be run by G4S. Governors from elsewhere, particularly those who run crumbling Victorian local jails, will envy the new buildings. They […]

Published: 20 September 2021

One of my priorities as the new Chief Inspector was to sharpen the focus in our reports on prison leadership. Assessment of leadership was always a factor in our inspections and was commented on in the chief inspector’s report introduction or in the sections about our healthy prison tests. However, given the importance of leadership […]

Published: 02 August 2021

Returning to full inspections During the pandemic, we adapted our inspection methodology to allow us to make safer ‘scrutiny visits’ to prisons. These were necessarily shorter than our usual inspections and covered fewer expectations. We were, therefore, pleased to announce our return to full, scored inspections from 10 May. For the time being, in order […]

Published: 21 June 2021

In the last six weeks, HMI Prisons has particularly focused on open prisons, conducting scrutiny visits at Ford, Thorn Cross, East Sutton Park and North Sea Camp. Open prisons have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 restrictions because they have largely been unable to fulfil their main function – preparing prisoners for release. In […]

Published: 12 May 2021

I took up my post as Chief Inspector of Prisons in November and it is frustrating that because of the pandemic, I still have not been able to meet many of the team face-to-face. Despite this, I have been enormously impressed by the dedication of the staff at HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the vast […]

Published: 06 April 2021