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Reports published 8 May

Reports on inspections of HMP/YOI Chelmsford and HMP Cardiff.

HMP/YOI Chelmsford

Type of inspection: full inspection

Dates of inspection: 22 January – 8 February 2024

Summary of findings:  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.

Read the report: HMP/YOI Chelmsford

HMP Cardiff

Type of inspection: full inspection

Dates of inspection: 29 January – 5 February 2024

Summary of findings: Cardiff was very overcrowded, with nearly two-thirds of the population sharing cells designed for one, however, it was clean, settled and performing better than similar prisons against most safety outcomes. The governor and her senior team were visible and positive staff-prisoner relationships underpinned the respectful culture.

Despite this, illegal drugs were a problem with nearly half of prisoners saying it was easy to get hold of them and just under a quarter of prisoners tested positive for drugs in mandatory testing. The delivery of key work was weak but time out of cell was delivered more consistently than at comparable prisons.

Points to note: Ten prisoners had taken their lives since 2019, yet the implementation of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s recommendations following those deaths was poor. Oversight and planning of care for patients with long-term health conditions was weak and inconsistent.

Read the report: HMP Cardiff