Friday, September 23, 2011

Prison Inspectors and Change

Two years ago the Prison Inspectors recommended that Erlestoke alter its procedure for getting visitors from the gate through to the visits room.  Keeping families standing in the cold and rain isn't seen as being a particularly nice thing to do.

Two years on, and the Editor finders herself standing outside for 30 minutes, with families including small children, waiting to get in.  That meant that we lost nearly half an hour of visiting time.

How fortunate for us that a Prison Inspector was lurking in the visits room, allowing the Ed and I to vent our opinion of the shambolic process.  The Inspectorate are to repeat their recommendation.

Will the Governor act this time or continue to show contempt for our families?  Anyone can nail up fluffy policy statements; it takes a decent and competent management to deliver on them.


  1. It really is unacceptable that visitors have to put up with this, the children in particular. I had no idea this was still the situation in some prisons as the two that I have visited have had charity-run vistors centres to wait in with indoor seating, tea bar, toys for the children, toilets etc. Still a process of searches etc to get from there to the visits hall of course.

    Definitely something to campaign about!

  2. Erlestoke has a visitor centre, but it is about half a mile from the gate! And they make you queue just inside the gate anyhow, so even if it were closer people would still be queuing in the cold and rain.

  3. And Erlestoke's visitor's centre is only open on alternate weekends. So not only is it half a mile away, it's shut more than it's open.

  4. "Anyone can nail up fluffy policy statements; it takes a decent and competent management to deliver on them."

    That is just so true, and across the board again too.

    Management seem to consistently make a hash out of fairly simple runnings. It's really bugging me at the moment, the deceit too in among all these fluffy paper policies.

    For example, in mental health services, service users are being talked out of having care and treatment in the community, and are being made to feel guilty about having any services or care because of essentially management issues.

    There are so many examples of this and it mainly goes something like this, " we need your care worker / hospital bed for someone who is in more need than you ". Just because management is incompetant, can't organise schedules and work loads or even recruit people properly we are being told in a manner that we do not have the needs we have.

    Its all deceit and basically comes down to rubbish management of services for which there are large budgets.

    'The cuts' are just being used as an excuse to come down on us harder and twist the knife on us even more.

    There are large amounts of dosh still. And anyway we still have needs even if management can't manage the budget (something which seems to be an age old phenomenon).

    Well my sympathies to you Ben and Ed and to all those prisoners and families at Earlstoke, it is shocking.

    Better must come.

  5. This must improve what about people with children or mobility needs who are visitors. I can imagine under this present government things may only get worse. I bet goveners and management still have money to have there offices decorated. It is a disgrace


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