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Staff shortages continue to limit rehabilitation work at Deerbolt

Opportunities for purposeful activity and rehabilitation for the young adults at HMP Deerbolt were hampered by problems in recruiting and retaining staff, as well as the more complex prisoners it now holds, says the Independent Monitoring Board in its latest annual report.

The Board notes:

  • Prisoners were often locked up for up to 22 – 23 hours a day.
  • Prisoner-staff interactions were a concern, with only around a third of planned key work sessions taking place. The prison is geared towards 18-21 year olds and struggles to care for older or more complex prisoners.

However, the Board also notes:

  • The good care and management of complex prisoners by mental health and segregation staff.
  • The innovative approaches to providing meaningful activity, such as a sports day and a parkrun.
  • The high-level intelligence work with prisoners who had gang allegiances.

IMB Deerbolt Chair Charlie Ing said:

“There continue to be some success stories at Deerbolt, most notably the care that the establishment offers to the most vulnerable and complex individuals and the innovative ways the prison has looked to engage the population. 

However, this has been a very challenging year in the prison, with difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, compounded by that fact that the prison now holds many more challenging and complex prisoners, often with strong gang affiliations. Unless staffing issues are tackled, this will inhibit the prison service’s ability to reduce recidivism rates and protect those in our communities.”