HMP Ford – a safe and purposeful open prison

HMP Ford has made good progress and is working well to prepare men for release, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the open prison in West Sussex.

HMP Ford held just over 470 men at the time of its inspection and a new governor had been appointed some two months beforehand. The prison was clearly safe and decent and took very seriously its responsibilities to those who had been entrusted to its care.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • there was little evidence of bullying or self-harm, levels of violence were low and few prisoners said that they felt unsafe;
  • security was proportionate, the prison felt stable and the number of absconds had reduced year on year;
  • support for substance misusers was very good;
  • relationships between staff and prisoners were generally positive;
  • the few prisoners who had been monitored for being at risk of self-harm or suicide said they had been well supported by staff;
  • the management of learning and skills was good, as was the quality of teaching;
  • there were sufficient, mostly high quality work, training and education places within the prison, but too few placements in the community; and
  • the offender management unit was effective, as prisoners had regular contact with their offender supervisor and sentence planning was good.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • for the third consecutive inspection, a lack of proper attention was still being paid to diversity issues and, in particular, there had been a failure to understand the disproportionate treatment of black and minority ethnic prisoners;
  • the residential units were grubby and poorly maintained; and
  • the strategic oversight of resettlement activity had deteriorated, access to resettlement services was confusing, and the use of release on temporary licence (ROTL) had declined.

Peter Clarke said:

“On the whole, this is a good inspection report. The new governor and his team are clearly committed to moving the prison forward. The progress that has been made in the past, particularly since the serious disturbance in 2011, is a credit to the prison staff and leadership. The findings of this inspection report would have been even more positive if some key recommendations that we had made previously have been addressed and implemented.”
– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

  1. A copy of the full report can be found here.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
  3. HMP Ford is a category D adult male prison.
  4. This unannounced inspection was carried out from 6-17 June 2016.
  5. Please contact Jane Parsons in HM Inspectorate of Prisons press office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452 if you would like more information.