THE INDEPENDENT Monitoring Board (IMB) has welcomed improvements at HMP Hewell during what has been a challenging time.
In its latest report the IMB states Hewell is an ‘improving prison which has coped well with the challenges of the pandemic and faces the future with a significant degree of optimism and potential’.
The report said the prison was now safer and more secure than in previous years and the pandemic had been handled effectively and compassionately.
There was real progress by the prison to become safer, cleaner, smarter and more comfortable and there were the ‘early signs of an increased sense of community’.
Advances had also been made in adopting a more holistic approach to the care of the men at Hewell, particularly focusing on their early days in custody.
All this was achieved against the backdrop of an ambitious programme of cultural change to move the prison forward.
The Board did add it was frustrated – yet again – on the inhumanity of the prolonged custody of men serving indeterminate (IPP) sentences, the inadequacy of provision within for the most unwell and vulnerable prisoners and the ‘still unacceptable accommodation for prisoners with disabilities’.
The Board stressed the momentum of recent progress needed to be maintained in the coming months otherwise the hard work would have been wasted and an opportunity missed.
IMB Chair, Rodger Lawrence, said: “The Board recognises the improvements since its last report to provide a service fit for the 21st century.
“Improvements in safety and cleanliness are impressive.
“We welcome the refurbishment programme, but we remain concerned at the poor facilities for people with disabilities.
“And, yet again, the Board has had to draw the Minister’s attention to the inhumanity of the IPP sentence on prisoners who are still in prison, long after the minimum period set by the court.”
Visit imb.org.uk/reports for the full report.
Could you be part of Hewell’s Independent Monitoring Board?
PEOPLE who believe everyone in prison should be treated fairly and are looking for a role to get an insight into a role few people see are being urged to join the
local Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) team at HMP Hewell.
IMB members are independent, unpaid and make an average of 2-3 visits per month. Their role is to monitor the day-to-day life in their local prison and ensure that prisoners are treated fairly and humanely.
IMB Volunteers work as part of a team and are the eyes and ears of the public, appointed by Ministers to perform a vital task: independent monitoring of prisons.
It’s an opportunity to help make sure that prisoners are being treated fairly and given the opportunity and support to stop reoffending and rebuild their lives.
Volunteers will monitor day-to-day life in a prison and could be talking to prisoners, checking that they are being given access to healthcare and activities, or observing how well those at risk of self harm are treated.
They will also play an important role in dealing with applications (complaints/requests) from prisoners, which could cover everything from lost property to serious bullying allegations. Among its duties is to produce an annual report which is sent to the prisons minister.
Successful applicants have full access in the prison in order to undertake the role, and although it’s unpaid, travel, childcare and loss of earnings expenses are available; you do not need any particular qualifications as comprehensive training and support is provided.
As Alison, a current IMB member at Hewell says: “It could be the most rewarding thing you have ever done. You can make a real difference to life in prison, not just in responding to an individual request or complaint, but also by raising concerns about everything from accommodation to those at risk of self harm.”
The IMB welcomes people from all walks of life- you just need to be enthusiastic, open minded, a natural communicator and possess sound, objective judgement.
They do not need any particular qualifications or experience, as we will provide all necessary training and support they need during a 12 month training and mentoring period.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the rewarding and challenging work of the Independent Monitoring Board at Hewell, or are interested in joining it should visit imb.org.uk/join-now/current-vacancies/ for more.
The next virtual recruitment event takes place at 4pm on Wednesday, January 19, and the closing date for applications is January 30.
Call Rodger Lawrence on 07969 989660 for more.