Urgent work needed to improve air quality at parts of Norfolk prison

HMP Bure, Tunstead Road, ScottowGV's of the new sex offender prison HMP Bure, based on the former RA

HMP Bure, Tunstead Road, ScottowGV's of the new sex offender prison HMP Bure, based on the former RAF Coltishall baseFor:EDPCopy:Ben Kendall - Credit: Colin Finch

Urgent work is needed to the ventilation system in some residences at a Norfolk prison which houses sex offenders, with offenders in 23 hour lockdown.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) carried out an inspection at HMP Bure which found work is needed to improve the ventilation system in part of the prison to improve the air quality and increase the level of ventilation.

The report, which was carried out between August last year and July this year, found it was particularly important as prisoners are currently locked up for up to 23 hours a day following the coronavirus outbreak.

But despite "long hours of lockdown for prisoners, morale remained high".

The prison, which was built on the former RAF Coltishall site and houses more than 600 prisoners, was found to be somewhere prisoners felt safe and morale was high, with low levels of violence.

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During the reporting year, there were three deaths in custody, including HMP Bure’s first self-inflicted death since opening in 2009. 

There were 347 individual cases of self-harm, among 46 individuals. Two of these were repeat self-harmers and two were prolific self-harmers.

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But the IMB considers the Safer Custody Team as being "outstanding in their delivery of support both to prisoners and families"

Levels of violence at the prison remain low. 

During the reporting year, there were 37 incidents – down from 45 last year. This could be expected, as a result of the long hours of lockdown for over five months of the year.

The report found listeners selected from prisoners by the prison staff and trained by the Samaritans have become a well-respected group, who have worked diligently to support those seriously affected by long hours of lockdown and increased anxiety for their families.

The report stated: "The board recognises efforts of the governor, with support of all staff, to continually look for opportunities to improve conditions both for prisoners and officers. 

"His personal commitment to establishing and supporting the residents’ council has allowed prisoners a ‘voice’, which has been particularly beneficial during the current COVID-19 pandemic lockdown."

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