Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Appendix to the Report


Annex B

BACKGROUND NOTE ON ASHFIELD PRISON AND YOUNG OFFENDER INSTITUTION

BACKGROUND

  Ashfield opened on 1 November 1999 and is operated by Premier Prison Services Ltd. Dave Bramley, is the Director and the acting Home Office Controller (ie monitor) is Peter McLean. Prison Service oversight is through David Waplington, Head of the Juvenile Operational Management Group.

AREA MANAGER'S COMMENTS

  2.  Ashfield is developing a culture that is achieving a good balance between security and care for prisoners. The first year of operation has inevitably had some difficulties most notably that of staff turnover, which has at times led to shortages with attendant problems. Premier Prisons have tried to address this and turnover slowed for a while but has begun to increase again. This needs to be watched carefully. There have been incidents of friction between different groups of prisoners. The establishment is taking a proactive approach to resolving this issue. The mix of juveniles/youth offenders has caused some logistical problems and the area manager is aware that Premier would prefer an entire juvenile population. The relatively recent change of the Director and Deputy Director, was well managed and has given fresh impetus to the establishment development.

  3.  Ashfield's CNA (certified normal accommodation—the number of prisoners which can be held without overcrowding) is 400 and the operational capacity 440. Ashfield has provision to overcrowd by 10 per cent but it has never reached the CNA. As of 17 April the population stood at 351 and was made up of 240 sentenced juveniles, 14 convicted awaiting juvenile sentence, 28 unconvicted juveniles, 40 unconvicted young offenders and 29 young offenders awaiting sentence. There are about 50 prisoner moves a day.

  4.  In the last twelve months, there have been four incidents of concerted indiscipline. Two incidents involving young people barricading themselves in cells and refusing to vacate (a group of seven and nine prisoners). Both were resolved without the use of force. The third incident involved a fight between two groups of prisoners on an exercise yard, which appeared racially motivated. The fourth, and most recent, occurred on Christmas Day when 13 young people barricaded themselves in one cell. They cited boredom as their motivation for the action. The incident was resoved peacefully without use of force and without injury to young people or staff. In common with all prisons, Ashfield has a Board of Visitors (BOV). They are appointed by the Home Secretary, to whom they report and act as his "eyes and ears" concerning the conditions in which prisoners are held. Ashfield's BOV have recently acknowledged the improved anti-bullying strategy and a race relations strategy to deal with Welsh/English friction. They have also raised the issue of limited sanctions for offenders detained under the Detention and Training Order. This is a national issue and not limited to Ashfield.

EDUCATION

  5.  Ashfield is contracted to provide 35 hours per week of purposeful activity for young people. The overall average figure for the prison (which includes young people and adult prisoners is 28.3 hours. This is because the figures depend on individual need, offenders can take up course work leading to appropriate accreditation. A range of activities are offered each evening.

  Vocational Training: Courses can be full-time or part-time and can be combined with other education programmes.

  Learning Support/Resource based learning

  Daytime:

    —  Maths and Number Work

    —  Communication and Literarcy

    —  20th Century Studies

    —  Art

    —  Pottery

    —  Music

    —  Food Technology and Bedsit Cooking

    —  Craft, Design and Technology

    —  Science

    —  Information Communication Technology

    —  Support and Key Skills

    —  Life and Social Skills (Citizenship)

    —  Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies

  Evening:

    —  Woodwork

    —  Computer Games and Programming

    —  Art

    —  Pottery

    —  Motor Mechanics

    —  Information Communication Technology

    —  Cooking

    —  Music

    —  Work Training

  Vocational Training:

    —  Motor Mechanics

    —  Horticulture and Gardening

    —  Catering

    —  Industrial Cleaning

    —  Laundry

    —  Painting and Decorating

    —  Building Studies

  Self-supporting educational programmes available for those young people unable to attend.

  Accreditation:

    —  GCSE (Various Boards)

    —  Certificate of Achievement

    —  Award Scheme Development Accreditation Network (ASDAN) awards

    —  Associated Examining Board (AEB)—Literacy and Numeracy Tests

    —  The English Speaking Board (ESB) Certificate

    —  City and Guilds (C&G) Profile of Achievement

    —  Word power

    —  Number power

    —  Key Skills Award

    —  NVQ Level 2 in Desktop Publishing

    —  Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Computer Literacy and Information Technology (CLAIT)

  Vocational Training:

    —  City and Guilds (C&G)

    —  NVQ—Level 1 and 2

    —  Profile of Achievement

    —  ASDAN Awards

    —  British Institute of Cleaning (BICs)
Psychology: CARATs*:Pre-Release:
Anger ManagementAcupuncture Job search skills
Thinking skillsInterview techniques
Black and Asian Self Development Course CV preparations
IMPACT Car CrimePre-Release:
Assertiveness
Parenting skills
Stress Management

* CARATs—counselling, assessment, referral, advice and throughcare sevices.

  6.  It is a requirement of the Youth Justice Board that HM Chief Inspector Prisons, accompanied by OfSTED Inspectors, visit all juvenile estate education departments annually. The Youth Justice Board appointed monitor visits monthly. Unannounced visits by the YJB occur usually every six weeks.

MEDICAL CARE

  7.  There is 24 hour nursing cover plus a part-time medical officer. There is on-site dentistry. Local NHS hospital used for surgical and acute medical procedures and radiology. However, Ashfield has had difficulty in acquiring adolescent forensic psychiatry services from the NHS.

DRUG STRATEGY

  8.  The types of drugs found in random mandatory drug tests and their percentage consist of cannabis 95 per cent and opiates 5 per cent. Ashfield is contracted to test 10 per cent of all new receptions. Data shows 84 per cent test positive to drugs. However, in random tests, the average positive rate is 16.4 per cent. Ten per cent of the population takes a mandatory drug test each month as specified in the contract.

  9.  A voluntary testing programme is available to all young people irrespective of status and regime level. Good use is made of intelligence, leading to a number of occasions when police attended to interview visitors suspected of trafficking. A Barrenger Machine (a drug "sniffing" machine) and an "active" drug dog are on-site. The Assistant Director of Programmes represents the prison at South Gloucestershire Drug Action Team. Community drugs agencies are represented on the Drug Strategy Team.

  10.  As part of the process to identify prisoners with drug problems, new prisoners are interviewed by nurses and an induction officer. All young people who request medical detoxification are provided with a seven day symptomatic relief programme once reception urine test shows positive results. Prisoners are referred to CARATs (two full-time counsellors) upon reception via Youth Offending Team, Psychology and Unit. Intensive programme of group work/individual counselling provided to young people with problem drug use. Education workshops/awareness programmes for the less severe. Alternative medicine via acupuncture to assist with detoxification and dependency issues. Currently operate an enhanced wing with voluntary testing compliant element to ensure a drug free wing.

  11.  Details of Ashfield's performance against key performance indicators follows this note.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR SUMMARY
KPIPerformance Year To Date Annual Target
EscapesThe number of escapes from prison.
No. of escapes0 0
AssaultsThe number of assaults on staff, prisoners and others.
No. of Assaults1861 n/a
Random drug testingThe rate of positive testing for drugs.
% of positive tests16.4%1 10.0%
Purposeful ActivityThe number of hours which, on average prisoners spend in purposeful activity.
Average purposeful hours per week28.32 n/a
OBPsThe number of prisoners completing programmes accredited as effective in reducing re-offending.
Sex offender treatment programmes0 n/a
Total OBPs0 n/a
Cost per placeThe average cost per prisoner.
Cost£38,906 £0
SicknessThe amount of days lost through sick absence.
Annualised days/staff 11
CorrespondenceThe rate of correspondence replied to in target.
% of correspondence replied to in target 99.6% 95%

1 Drugs and Assaults data are provisional for up to two months after the reporting period.

2 This is the average figure for the prison which includes adult prisoners. Premier Prisons is required to provide 35 hours a week for young offenders.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR SUMMARY
Non-KPIPerformance Year To Date
Population DataPopulation CNAOp Cap
As at 1 March 2001362 407400
DeathsThe number of deaths in custody of which self inflicted
0 0
Random drug testingThe rate of testing for drugs Male closed young offender
Functional Average
% of pop tested10.5%(*) 6.4%
Release on Temporary LicenceThe number of prisoners released Number of Temporary Release Failures (actual and as a %)
5 0
Regime NumbersBasic StandardEnhanced
As at 1 March 200144 171111
Other Supporting Indicators:Actual Target
Training: Annualised days/staff0.0 n/a
Unlocking for 10 hours+Yes n/a

Note: (*)  Drugs and Assaults data are provisional for up to two months after the reporting period.


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 11 May 2001