Unannounced inspections carried out in May and June of this year have found that a high number of prisoners feel unsafe or are experiencing physical and sexual assaults within the prison, which is made up of Parkhurst and Albany sites and primarily houses sex offenders – including former pop star Gary Glitter. There are a total of 1,100 prisoners incarcerated across the two sites on the outskirts of Newport.
The report has found that since 2012 substance misuse services have been transformed, with very good integrated clinical and psychosocial care and treatment offered within a flexible individualised recovery programme. There is little evidence of illegal drug use.
In the report released this week, it is said that the prison is generally clean, although some prisoners were in cramped cells and a few had inadequately screened toilets. Staff-prisoner relationships are said to be good and personal officer work is effective. Strategic management of diversity has improved and outcomes are generally good, but less so for foreign nationals.
The prison’s faith provision has been found to be reasonably good, complaints are well managed, health services are rated as good and catering is said to be adequate. The inspectors have also found security to be proportionate overall, that the care of men at risk of suicide and self-harm is generally good and prisoners with palliative and end of life needs received excellent care.
Although the majority of the report is positive, improvements are still needed with concerns being raised about prisoners saying they had been victimised by other prisoners and staff than in comparable prisons; that not all staff were sufficiently aware of the risks that some men posed; and although the management of equality issues was good overall, the prison was unable to adequately meet the needs of all the men with disabilities and these needs were likely to become greater.
Chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, said:
“HMP Isle of Wight held a complex sex offender population, most of whom had been convicted of serious offences but who were now themselves often vulnerable because of age or disability.
“For the most part the prison dealt with this complex task professionally, but further work was required to develop a more sophisticated approach to managing and reducing the risks these men posed, both within the prison and, importantly, when they were eventually released.”
You can read the full report here.