An action plan to improve conditions at HMP Bristol following an urgent notification by the prisons inspectorate has been published today (11 July 2019).
Ministers set up the urgent notification protocol in 2017 to ensure that immediate steps are taken to address serious concerns identified by inspectors.
Following last month’s inspection at HMP Bristol, steps were immediately taken to ensure that all prisoners were able to contact the Samaritans from their in-cell phones, ensuring 24/7 access to support. The prison will also work with local healthcare providers to improve the identification and management of prisoners at risk of self-harm and suicide.
Continued efforts to improve safety will be supported by a new incentives and earned privileges scheme to promote good behaviour and extra training for staff to manage issues without resorting to the use of force.
A new education building and library have already been constructed and will open in August. The new facilities will ensure greater access to purposeful activity for prisoners at HMP Bristol and help them gain qualifications to help them find work after leaving the prison, which research shows substantially reduces the risk of reoffending.
Major repair works have already been carried out to improve conditions on several wings over the past year, with prisoners using skills they have acquired to carry out renovations in residential areas. The reduced capacity of 520 will be maintained until the end of 2019 to allow for further redecoration and minor refurbishments to take place.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said:
We have taken swift action to improve conditions at HMP Bristol, ensuring vulnerable prisoners are supported and cells are clean and decent.
A new approach to managing behaviour and additional training for officers will help tackle violence and make the prison a safer, more secure environment for both prisoners and staff.
And we are building links with local employers and improving education to help prisoners gain employment on release, reducing their chances of reoffending and helping to protect the public.