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Continuing positive resettlement work at HMP Ford

In its 2022-23 report, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) highlights further, positive progress towards the operation of an effective and humane regime, and meeting its objectives as a rehabilitation and resettlement prison, with increased focus on education, training and employment opportunities.

The Board notes that:

  • There was an increased focus on overcoming regime challenges posed by the lack of available staff, for example HMP Ford is the first prison in the country to be trialling unsupervised football.
  • The healthcare provided to the men is of a consistently high standard.
  • The Reducing Reoffending team, together with the Prisoner Employment Lead, is making a positive impact, for example running jobs fairs that bring in local and national employers to engage with prisoners. These events have been well attended and appear successful.

However, this progress was made against a backdrop of:

  • Crumbling infrastructure and slow, inefficient delivery of building/repair projects. The high number of power outages, boiler breakdowns, flooding and sewage problems create health and safety concerns, which will only become more apparent as new accommodation blocks open.
  • An under-resourced Probation Service which slowed the progress of men being cleared for release on temporary licence to undertake work in the community.
  • Ongoing failure across the prison estate to deliver a fit for purpose approach to managing prisoners’ property. The Board, however, have observed staff at HMP Ford work hard to manage this, despite the national problems.

IMB HMP Ford Chair, Gay Kaye, said:

“Positive progress towards successful prisoner resettlement has continued despite the challenges posed by continuing staff shortages within the Probation Service. However, the crumbling infrastructure of the building continues to present issues. The lack of funding or progress towards fixing these issues is concerning, especially in light of the plans to increase the capacity of the prison.”