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HMP Ashfield

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Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Ashfield by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (9–20 October 2023)

Ashfield healthy prison scores

Bar chart showing HMP Ashfield outcomes by healthy prison area in 2023 compared with 2019. Safety and respect had both remined good; purposeful activity had dropped from good to poor; preparation for release had improved from not sufficiently good to good.

What we found

Ashfield is a category C training prison holding prisoners convicted of a sexual offence. While staff were largely young and inexperienced, the new director had developed a positive culture meaning they were well supported. The programmes team, with the support of the psychology department, worked hard to help officers to understand the nature of the prisoners and the way in which their behaviour could mirror previous offences. This led to better collection of security information which could help to plan for individual prisoners and show if progress was being made. An excellent offender management unit (OMU) was backed by consistently good key working with individual prisoners.

Ashfield was failing to fulfil its role as a training prison, which was particularly disappointing because education provision was run directly by Serco, so there were none of the issues with managing education contracts often found in other prisons.

Points to note

The provider had carpeted landings and cells, which meant that the prison was much quieter than most. The end of contract stipulation had ludicrously ordained that carpets should be removed so that the prison is returned to its original state; this will result in huge and unnecessary cost and disruption to staff and prisoners.

Action plan