‘Grubby and dilapidated’, that was the description given to accommodation at Ford Prison by the chief inspector of prisons.
It is one of the concerns raised in the latest Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report published today.
The IMB report is not all negative and highlights that the ‘board believes for the most part, HMP Ford is a well-run prison and that its prisoners are treated fairly and with respect’.
However its findings have seen calls made for the ‘cramped, run-down prisoner accommodation’, most of which is said to date back to the original 1950s Fleet Air Arm base at the site, to be replaced.
It deems the ‘elderly’ prefab huts to be ‘in a shabby condition’ and ‘ill-equipped for men who are supposed to be preparing themselves for an independent life outside prison’.
It also expresses ‘disappointment’ that lockable cabinets for personal property ‘have still not been’ installed and states that ‘cleanliness in the overall prison campus remains a challenge’.
However, as a facility which ‘aim is to prepare them to lead independent lives in the community after release’, it did also express concern ‘by the reduction in opportunities for men to gain employment or work experience outside the prison, which is an essential part of efforts to resettle offenders and reduce re-offending’.
‘Extensive’ drug abuse is also listed as ‘a cause for concern’ in the report, one which it states ‘has not been helped by inadequate surveillance equipment’ – something the governor is requesting funding to improve.
It outlined how Mandatory Drug Testing (MDT) plays a part in the ‘combating’ of misuse, and of 41 tests carried out in October 14 proved positive.
That said drug and alcohol rehabilitation services were listed by the board as ‘areas worthy of mention as being particularly good at HMP Ford’ alongside Healthcare, chaplaincy and catering.
A rolling success rate of 99.8 per cent was documented for Release on Temporary Licence, with absconding levels deemed to be ‘very low’ – seeing 1,800 day releases per month and an average ‘failure return rate’ of less than one per month.