Report finds Norwich Prison has ‘deteriorated’ over past three years

PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:01 27 February 2020

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Bosses at Norwich Prison face “significant difficulties” at a jail which has been found to have “deteriorated” over the past three years, according to a new report.

A report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, which follows an unannounced inspection late last year, found the Knox Road jail to be "not sufficiently good" in terms of safety, respect, purposeful activity and rehabilitation and release planning.

It had been assessed as being reasonably good in these areas following a 2016 report and the deterioration has concerned inspectors.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said while the complexity of the prison, which holds just under 700 male inmates, brought "not insignificant management challenges", the combination of facilities ought to offer real opportunities to help prisoners progress through their sentence to the point of resettlement. He said: "Our findings suggested that the prison still had some way to go before such a vision could be fully realised."

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Prison management said they had faced "considerable difficulties" and that the prison had deteriorated significantly although they were keen to point out that the deterioration had been reduced with some recent improvement over the past year.

Inspectors found levels of recorded violence at Norwich had increased although there were comparably fewer serious incidents.

About a fifth of prisoners at the jail said they felt unsafe and there had been six self-inflicted deaths since 2016 but inspectors were assured of progress in learning from those deaths.

Many prison staff were also very inexperienced while the prison also lacked an action plan to ensure it became a place of meaningful and effective rehabilitation.

Mr Clarke said although there were improvements to be seen at Norwich much of this was "recent, inconsistent and not particularly well coordinated". He added that there "remained a number of safety risks that needed to be addressed, prisoners needed to be supported and incentivised to engage purposefully with the regime and there was much to do in ensuring that an inexperienced staff group received the support they needed".

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