For several years the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Send has highlighted the lack of IT provision at the prison, so the continued dearth of digital technology at Send remains a significant concern. The Board’s latest annual report can only conclude that the prison is failing to prepare prisoners for life in a digital society.
The Board notes that:
- As government findings state that “digital skills are becoming a near-universal requirement for everyday life”, prisoners who are digitally excluded may be less successful in their re-integration into society.
- The number of prisoners accessing release on temporary licence, for the purpose of engaging in employment, remained disappointingly low throughout the reporting year, such opportunities would further improve prisoners’ chances of successful resettlement.
- Staff shortages in the offender management unit have impacted services and the Board has received a significantly higher number of complaints about sentence management during the reporting year than in previous years.
However, the Board is pleased to report that:
- Positive relationships between prisoners and staff have been observed and it is the Board’s opinion that great efforts are made to ensure the safety of prisoners, including those with complex needs.
- Levels of purposeful activity have increased to include 90% of prisoners by the end of the reporting year.
- Despite appropriate resettlement accommodation remaining in short supply, the Board has observed prison staff make every effort to ensure that prisoners have suitable accommodation to go to on release.
IMB Send Chair, Samantha Coop, said:
“Digital skills are now essential for everyday life. If prisoners do not have these skills, it makes it very difficult for them to successfully reintegrate back into society on release. Send is lagging behind other prisons in this respect. We are pressing the Prison Service to give IT at Send a higher priority.”