Inspection finds inmates felt ‘unsafe’ in Preston’s prison

Inspection: HMP Preston, which was inspected from March to April this year
Inspection: HMP Preston, which was inspected from March to April this year
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Imates have told inspectors they don’t feel safe inside Preston’s prison.

Inspectors made an unannounced visit to the Ribbleton Lane jail earlier this year.

And while the prison was found to have a “good focus on purposeful activity”, it was criticised for high rates of drug availability, thought to contribute to some prisoners feeling unsafe.

A report said “too many prisoners felt unsafe and victimised”, and processes to ensure their safety were “not robust”.

Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, said: “There was much that was good about what Preston had to offer prisoners with notably a good focus on purposeful activity and resettlement; the prison was stronger in these areas than many other local prisons we have recently visited. But disappointingly, we discerned complacency with insufficient attention to questions of safety and respect which was impacting on how prisoners perceived life at Preston.”

Inspectors were “pleased” that prisoners were received reasonably well into the prison, support for prisoners who self-harmed was helpful, and prompt action had been taken to address concerns following recent deaths in custody.

They found security was generally proportionate and disciplinary procedures were well managed, and substance misuse services had developed and the recovery unit was excellent. Mental health services were very good. But inspectors were “concerned” that significantly more prisoners than in similar prisons reported feeling unsafe and victimised.

There were high rates of drug availability and work to tackle the supply was limited, and prisoners were less positive than on previous inspections about the quality of relationships with staff. Inspectors found some examples where staff were dismissive.

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, said: “I am pleased that the chief inspector has highlighted the excellent work being done at Preston to support resettlement and rehabilitation.

“There is no complacency about safety and security. The Governor has reinvigorated work to tackle drug abuse and violence which is a key priority for the prison.”