HMP Sudbury - an open prison failing in its resettlement role
The challenges of managing the population at HMP Sudbury had been underestimated and the prison was failing in some respects, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons.
Inspectors were concerned to find that:
- the prison had focused its resettlement efforts on providing work experience for prisoners through release on temporary licence (ROTL) but there was little attempt to link the experience that might be obtained through ROTL to jobs that might be available to a prisoner in his home area;
- following a series of high-profile ROTL failures in other prisons in 2013, procedures for granting ROTL had rightly tightened up and Sudbury was unable to keep up with the extra work this involved;
- the offender management unit had a low profile within the prison and some offender supervisors lacked adequate training;
- offender supervisor caseloads were high and some were frustrated by their inability to have meaningful contact with the prisoners for whom they were responsible;
- public protection arrangements were not robust enough;
- planning to meet prisoners’ practical resettlement needs was also weak and relied heavily on the work of untrained prisoner orderlies without internet access;
- more prisoners than in similar prisons said they had not felt safe at some point during their stay and in part, these concerns reflected feelings of insecurity created by very low staffing levels;
- some prisoners said they feared arbitrary return to closed conditions if, for instance, they made a complaint; and
- the segregation unit was cold, dirty and poorly ventilated and the justification to segregate and/or transfer in some cases was inadequate.
However, inspectors were pleased to find that:
- in view of some prisoners’ frustration, the prison did well to be a reasonably safe place with few violent incidents and little self-harm;
- the environment was reasonable for most prisoners and most prisoners said they had a member of staff they could go to for help if they could find them;
- health care had improved significantly since the last inspection and prescribing practice had been tightened up;
- prisoners had very good amounts of time out of their cells and there were enough activity places to meet the needs of the population; and
- the range of vocational training and the quality of education were good.