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Could you help to monitor standards inside Norwich Prison?

Norwich Prison. Picture: STEVE ADAMS

Norwich Prison. Picture: STEVE ADAMS

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

It is usually a place for those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Norwich Prison. Picture: STEVE ADAMSNorwich Prison. Picture: STEVE ADAMS

But now upstanding members of the community are needed to help scrutinise standards and the treatment of prisoners inside Norwich Prison.

Every prison is required by law to have an independent monitoring board (IMB) in place to check on the jail’s performance and whether prisoners are being treated fairly and humanely.

As well as making regular visits, Norwich IMB members produce an annual report about standards at the prison.

They are also called whenever there are major incidents, such as disturbances and assaults and have a right to go anywhere within the prison and speak to anyone, at any time.

Norwich Prison. Picture: BILL SMITHNorwich Prison. Picture: BILL SMITH

A spokesman for the IMB, which is looking for four new members, said the main challenge the prison faces is dealing with people in a variety of circumstances - some of whom are hardened criminals and others on remand who have found themselves inside at short notice.

The spokesman 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.”

No qualification or criminal justice background is needed for the role, although the spokesman said the key skills are “a lot of common sense and an ability to get on with people of all shapes and sizes”.

Individuals are usually expected to make about three or four visits per month.

For more information or to apply, visit www.imb.org.uk

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