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Continued progress at Staffordshire prison say monitors

In a report published this week, independent monitors at G4S-managed HMP Oakwood in Staffordshire have praised the “continued progress” at the category-C re-settlement prison

The prison’s Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report that action to tackle violence has led to a reduction in incidents over the past year, staff interaction with prisoners is meaningful and that programmes to expand the number of prisoner self-help initiatives, designed to increase prisoners’ sense of responsibility, have progressed considerably.

While the Board remain concerned about the level of drugs entering the prison, they recognise that the security team has worked hard to reduce contraband with a high success rate detecting throw overs and passes during visits.

The prison started the final phase of its development to reach its designed and built capacity of 2,106 at the beginning of July and over the next five months will accommodate an additional 501 prisoners, up from 1,605.  The report came on the same day as the publication of new Ministry of Justice data showing that the prison is hitting the majority of targets and is operating at the second highest level possible.   

G4S Director for HMP Oakwood, John McLaughlin, said:

“This report and government data published this week rightly recognise the continued progress that staff have made since Oakwood opened in 2012.  The team has grown in experience, the regime has matured and while we don’t underestimate the complexity of the expansion currently underway, we have taken steps to boost provision of purposeful activity, recruit new staff and strengthen our team in critical areas such as the Care and Separation Unit.

“There is still much work to do and our priorities are to complete the expansion safely and bear down on attrition rates to ensure that we retain the knowledge and experience of staff which we have worked hard to develop.  We also want to further improve our peer-mentoring and prisoner engagement programmes, which have helped us to improve safety and been recognised as good practice by government inspectors. 

“The majority of prisoners at Oakwood will leave us to return to communities in the West Midlands.  Our team is resolutely focussed on ensuring that the time spent at the prison helps prisoners to build the skills which will help them to turn away from crime to reduce risk to the public and help cut the number of future victims of crime.”

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