Praise for prison from independent monitoring team

November 01 2016

ASHFIELD Prison has been described by a team of monitors as well-run, housing inmates safely and securely but also with dignity, humanity and respect.

ASHFIELD Prison has been described by a team of monitors as well-run, housing inmates safely and securely but also with dignity, humanity and respect.
The Independent Monitoring Board said in its annual report on Ashfield that there was a calm and positive atmosphere at the prison in Pucklechurch, near Yate, which holds up to 400 men serving sentences for sexual offences.
Local unpaid volunteers make up the board, which said it was impressed by the overall standards of dedication and professionalism shown by prison operator Serco and contracted staff at all levels.
At any one time, around 90 per cent of inmates are serving sentences of at least four years, with a high number of lifers in the prison.
In 2015, the board raised concerns about the suitability of education and training programmes and the difficulties Ashfield was encountering in being allocated enough prisoners who could engage with its sex offender treatment programmes.
But its latest report said those concerns had largely been resolved and much good work was being done to reduce re-offending and rehabilitate prisoners who have usually served long sentences.
Board chairwoman Caroline Thompson said prisoners reported fair treatment by staff and they felt “motivated to engage with the range of programmes and vocational training courses on offer”.
Ashfield had been a young offenders’ institution until 2013 and Vicky Pails, its recently appointed contract director, said: “This prison has seen a huge amount of change since it altered its role three years ago.
“There are, of course, areas where we can improve and we are studying this report to see what lessons can be learnt.”