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Staff shortages and regular lockdowns at HMP Full Sutton

Staff shortages at HMP Full Sutton – a high security prison, have impacted badly on regimes, with prisoners locked in their cells on a rotation basis for significant periods. However, the prison remained safe and secure and security issues were low level and minor, says the independent monitoring board, in its 2022 annual report.  

The IMB noted the following positives:

  • Improvements in both the provision and delivery of education.
  • Prisoners with complex needs, and those who were vulnerable or challenging, were reviewed weekly by a multi-disciplinary team.
  • The quality and handling of responses to prisoners’ complaints had improved.

However, the IMB noted:

  • A low level of targeted drug testing, with only 43% of tests carried out when staff had raised suspicions.
  • Limited focus on equality, with few meetings and staff being redeployed to other areas.

Richard Terry, Chair of Full Sutton IMB, said: ‘2022 was another testing year for prisoners and staff. Despite the reducing impact of COVID, the year was characterised by staff shortages and regime curtailments. Our overall assessment is that prisoners were treated fairly, despite these pressures. Effective communication with prisoners helped to mitigate the effect of the restrictions, and the Governor and staff were able to maintain security, and ensure the environment was as safe as possible.’