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Prison bosses asked to address violence and safety at HMP Norwich

PUBLISHED: 21:23 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 21:23 05 July 2019

Norwich Prison governor Will Styles . Photo : Steve Adams

Norwich Prison governor Will Styles . Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Bosses at Norwich Prison are to be asked how they plan to address safety for staff and inmates after an annual report found an increase in recorded violent incidents.

The report of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of HMP Norwich, for the year March 2018 to February 2019, found there had been an increase in recorded violent incidents at the Knox Road jail.

In February 2018 there were 57 incidents, compared to 131 in April 2018 and 140 in January 2019, with a peak of 149 recorded in October 2018.

Recorded assaults on staff reached a high of 15 in March 2018, and a low of six in December 2018.

Investigations conducted by the prison found the main reason for prisoner-on-prisoner violence was bullying, debt and issues stemming from outside the prison.

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The IMB, which is made up of volunteers appointed by government ministers to ensure prisoners are treated humanely, is concerned a number of issues raised previously, including violence, "continue to be areas of concern".

They want to know how the prison plans to address staff and prisoners feeling safe on the wings.

However the IMB also concluded that staff respond swiftly and professionally to the regular violent incidents fuelled by bullying, drugs, debt and gang-related issues, but too often officers themselves are threatened and attacked.

Elsewhere, the annual report found that many men requiring help are insufficiently supported as a consequence of deficits in services provided within the community, which can unfairly result in those with complex needs and mental illness ending up in prison.

The IMB said: "Overall, prisoners receive fair treatment in this establishment. However, the former emphasis on equalities has been eroded due to the lack of an equalities officer."

The IMB added: "HMP Norwich is committed to humane treatment of all prisoners, but decency continues to be undermined by substandard accommodation."

Furhtermore the IMB does not consider that prisoners are prepared well for their release with the resettlement programme provided by the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) continuing to be "ineffective".

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