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HMP/YOI Chelmsford

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Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP/YOI Chelmsford by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (22 January – 8 February 2024)

Chelmsford healthy prison scores

Bar chart showing healthy prison outcomes at HMP & YOI Chelmsford in 2024 compared with 2021. Safety and purposeful activity had both improved from poor to not sufficiently good; respect and preparation for release had remained not sufficiently good.

What we found

Chelmsford was a safer and more productive place at its first full inspection since the Urgent Notification issued in 2021.

Staff had worked hard to reduce contraband getting into the estate. Subsequently, violence had reduced, the positive MDT rate was lower than at comparable jails at 15% and higher levels of prisoner attendance at education, training and work had been achieved. Sadly, self-harm had increased and poor coordination between the two providers of therapeutic support and long waiting lists prevented the delivery of much needed support for prisoners struggling with their mental health.

Points to note: Use of force was high, care and support for prisoners during their early days was poor and, whilst the OMU had made very good recent progress with work to reduce reoffending, some high-risk prisoners were released without adequate preparation. On average, 26% of sentenced prisoners had nowhere to sleep on their first night of release.