Prison installs photo booth for visits
A jail has installed a photo booth so inmates can take pictures with family members.
Prisoners at privately-run HMP Lowdham Grange can use the facility to capture group shots with relatives during visits.
The move was praised in an inspection report on the Nottinghamshire prison.
It said: "There was a photo booth for prisoners and their families to take a group photograph, which was another good innovation."
The prison's operator Serco said the photo booth was introduced in March last year as part of efforts to help families and children have a more positive experience of visiting their fathers.
Used more than 2,200 times, it has been "extremely popular", the firm added.
Following the trial at Lowdham Grange, Serco expects to introduce photo booths at its other prisons.
Ministers have highlighted the importance of enabling prisoners to keep up relationships with loved ones when behind bars.
Last month, the Government announced plans that will allow thousands more inmates in England and Wales to make phone calls from their cells.
The report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons also disclosed that Lowdham Grange introduced a "violence hotline" in an effort to improve safety.
Inmates can use the service to report concerns about violent or anti-social behaviour.
HMIP described the measure as an example of "good practice".
It said: "Prisoners could call to report concerns about violence and the safer custody team responded quickly.
"The team also worked with health care to offer support to prisoners who had been using illicit substances."
The inspection, which took place in August, found the number of violent incidents was high for a category B training prison, with 64 assaults on staff and 83 on prisoners in the last six months.
There had been 30 serious incidents involving weapons, some of which had resulted in puncture wounds and hospitalisation.
Most violence related to the trade of illicit drugs, the inspectorate said.
HMIP noted that the use of technology to scan mail for drugs was a "very useful" initiative but it said the practice of destroying all correspondence that indicated positive, including photographs and stamps, was "excessive".
Opened in 1998, Lowdham Grange holds up to 920 adult men.
Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: "Our findings at Lowdham Grange were adequate if inconsistent.
"There had been some progress but there was very much the sense that the prison was doing just enough.
"We did see some innovative practice, and recent improvements needed to be embedded."
Michael Spurr, chief executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, said: "Lowdham Grange holds a challenging long-term prisoner population.
"Serco are committed to improving performance at the prison and we will closely monitor their response to the recommendations in this report."
Mark Hanson, Serco contract director at Lowdham Grange, said: "We are pleased that this report highlights a number of areas of progress, good practice and innovation in the prison, particularly our new violence reduction programme.
"However, we know we have much more to do to address all the recommendations in the report and embed the improvements that we been making in recent months and we are working on these as a matter of urgency."