In its latest annual report, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at HMP Usk and Prescoed has noted an overall environment of calm within the prison, with low levels of violence and a positive culture between staff and prisoners. Although a large number of prisoners are engaged in purposeful activity and education, there are still challenges to delivery which are impacting prisoners’ progression.
The IMB highlights that:
- Incidents of violence and use of force remained low.
- Relationships between prisoners and staff were observed to be good overall and prisoners reported generally feeling safe.
- Prisoners have up to 10 hours out of cell a day, with 90% of them engaged in employment or purposeful activity.
- Comprehensive plans are in place to further increase employment outcomes for prisoners on release.
However, the Board noted the following concerns:
- Limited access to specialist mental health facilities due to staff shortages.
- Occasional last-minute adjournments to parole hearings, which is distressing for prisoners, particularly those serving indefinite imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences.
- Poor communication between probation officers and prisoners due to probation staffing issues.
- Ongoing issues with property loss as prisoners are transferred between prisons, despite this problem being reported regularly and nationally.
Andrew Walsh, IMB Chair at Usk and Prescoed said:
“Although we have reported on a number of positive aspects for prisoners, the Board has a number of ongoing concerns. Despite the efforts we have observed the Governor and staff make to improve the prospects of the men held at HMP Usk and Prescoed, prisoner rehabilitation continues to be hampered by the restraints imposed by the ever-increasing prison population and an overall lack of resources.”