In their 2021-22 annual report the Independent Monitoring Board highlights that Eastwood Park is currently considered to be a prison of national concern, reporting the following:
- Extremely low staffing numbers, high levels of self-harm and numerous women being imprisoned with severe mental illness all combine to adversely affect safety and regimes throughout the establishment
- The unsuitability of accommodation on residential unit 4 for women with serious mental illness – a prisoner with an acquired brain injury was subject to 1,484 days of continuous segregation before being transferred to a medium secure hospital for assessment in September 2022.
- While there have been further delays on the construction of a new activities centre, this long-awaited facility is due to be completed in March 2023.
The Board observed the positive impact of the ONE Women’s Centre. Since opening in May 2022, it has provided continuous resettlement services for women from South Wales and the South West of England during their sentence and after release into the community.
IMB Chair, Arthur Williams, said:
“It has been another challenging year for Eastwood Park prison. The Covid pandemic continued to have a major effect on regimes at the prison. We hope that national action will be taken to provide adequate officer numbers so that a normal regime can be reinstated as a matter of urgency. Works have recently commenced to refurbish residential unit 4 and a task group is considering ways to provide a clearer therapeutic focus for some of the most vulnerable and at-risk women in the prison who are located on this wing. We have highlighted concern about damp accommodation on residential unit 2 in our previous annual reports. This wing has now been closed and awaits refurbishment.”