Last chance to help monitor standards in Norfolk prisons
A final call has been made for people to make regular visits to two of Norfolk’s prisons to monitor standards inside.
Every prison is required by law to have an Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) in place to check on the jail’s performance and how prisoners are being treated.
HMP Norwich and HMP Wayland, in Griston near Watton, are looking for five more people each to join its IMBs to help scrutinise conditions inside and the treatment of prisoners.
As well as making regular visits, IMB members produce an annual report and deal with any complaints made by prisoners.
They are called whenever there are major incidents, such as disturbances and assaults.
Trish Phillips, chairman of HMP Wayland’s IMB, said the role forms part of upholding Article Three of the European Convention of Human Rights – that “no-one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
She said: “Basically, our job is to make sure prisoners are being taken care of in a fair and humane manner.
“There’s a system where prisoners can contact us whenever they want to and we will look into their concerns.
“We will often go to see them to talk to them and get more information.
“That all gives us a very clear of what’s going on in the prison.
“We’re all people who want the best welfare for everyone.
“The more you get involved, you more you realise what goes on in a prison.”
A spokesman from HMP Norwich said the role is “incredibly fulfilling” where people “learn something new every day”, adding: “It makes you incredibly aware of your surroundings.
“It is a really important job. As a nation, we could allow our prisoners to be treated like dirt - I’m sure our prison service wouldn’t be like that, but knowing someone is there to monitor standards must help.”
Individuals are usually expected to make about three or four visits per month.
No formal qualifications are required, but members are expected to have a desire to help people.
HMP Watton is a Category C jail with 1,000 prisoners, 100 of whom are serving life sentences.
HMP Norwich has a capacity of 793 Category B, C and D.
Applications close on Thursday, March 15.
For more information or to apply, visit www.imb.org.uk
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