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HMP Lancaster Farms remained safe during the pandemic but faces some challenges

In its annual report for 2021-22, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at HMP Lancaster Farms notes that the prison succeeded in continuing to provide a safe environment for prisoners and meet most primary healthcare needs. Additional support was provided for prisoners, including the introduction of in-cell telephones in November 2021 and the provision of primary healthcare.

However, the report notes the following areas of concern:

  • High levels of self-harm among a small number of prisoners, many of whom have challenging and complex mental health needs.
  • Those with serious mental health issues should be transferred to more specialist and secure mental health facilities.
  • Rehabilitation activities were curtailed for much of the reporting year.
  • The prison is facing a challenge in respect of recruiting sufficient staff.

IMB Lancaster Farms Chair, Robin Talbot, said:

“We were impressed by the positive nature of the everyday prison environment at Lancaster Farms: good relationships between staff and prisoners; good healthcare  and well-equipped education and gym facilities. We recognise the challenges that the pandemic raised for the prison service. However, the most vulnerable prisoners, such as those with severe mental health problems, need more support. In addition, the prison faces the end of the Covid lockdown with shortages in staff and the need to re-focus its energies on resettlement activity. As a Board we are keen to see that prisoners ending their sentences at Lancaster Farms have jobs, accommodation and support when they leave the prison.