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HMP Hewell is making positive progress under challenging circumstances

HMP Hewell is an improving prison that is now safer and cleaner, with more meaningful activity, but population pressures compromise resettlement work, says the Independent Monitoring Board in its 2021-22 annual report released today.

The Board notes:

  • Half the prisoners are on remand, often for long periods, and an increasing number are not local.  This, along with the lack of affordable housing in the community, reduces the positive impact of the prison’s rehabilitative and resettlement work.
  • Facilities for prisoners with physical disabilities are very limited, compromising their care and safety.
  • A designated unit for men with complex mental health needs is achieving positive results. However, the wait for transfer to external specialist psychiatric units can be unacceptably long: one man waited 145 days, and others are held in the segregation unit for their own safety. 
  • Cell sharing, with open toilets in the space where men eat and sleep, continues to be an inhumane reality.
  • The despair of prisoners serving indeterminate IPP sentences.

The IMB Chair said,

“HMP Hewell is achieving a clean, decent and humane regime and attempting to provide prisoners with meaningful activity, education and support. This is despite the limitations of the accommodation, high numbers of men on remand and population pressures, factors that are outside the control of the prison.

Yet again we challenge the Secretary of State to take action to reduce the number of prisoners held under indeterminate sentences (IPP). This will reduce the despair of endless detention for the prisoners, and free up accommodation and resources within the prison service.”