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Staff shortages impact every aspect of prisoner rehabilitation at HMP/YOI Norwich

HMP/YOI Norwich is facing significant challenges due to ongoing staff shortages. The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at the prison reported a severely restricted daily regime, with limited time out of cell, opportunities to exercise, or access to education.

The IMB noted in their 2022-23 annual report that:

  • Levels of self-harm in the prison have further increased. The Board believes this is due to the negative impact reduced time out of cell has on prisoners’ mental health. 45% of prisoners who responded to the IMB survey indicated they needed mental health support, with only 35% of these prisoners finding support easy to access.
  • There is no offending behaviour programme provision at HMP/YOI Norwich and therefore little chance of those serving imprisonment for public protection (IPP) or other long-term sentences demonstrating the necessary reduction in risk to secure release.
  • Qualifications took longer to obtain, and when these were reliant on additional work being done by prisoners in their cells, those with low levels of literacy and numeracy were disadvantaged.

However, the Board also reported that:  

  • Relationships between staff and prisoners were good. The Board observed staff show great care towards those in their charge.
  • There were strong links with charities who support men to maintain family ties during their sentence, including baby bonding visits and storybook dads.
  • The reducing reoffending team have created strong links with local employers and provided excellent opportunities for men to gain employment on release.

Joint IMB Chairs, Stephanie and Tony, said:

“Continued staff shortages have meant that the men remained locked in their cells for long periods of time with limited opportunities for exercise or domestic chores. This has also had a significant impact on the mental health of some prisoners. However, real efforts have been made to support successful release by maintaining family ties and improving opportunities for employment.”