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Fazakerley prison sees reduction in violence

In a report published today, independent monitors said that G4S-managed HMP Altcourse in Liverpool shows signs that new initiatives and strategies are reducing the incidents of violence at the prison.

The prison’s Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) reports that HMP Altcourse is operating satisfactorily despite some difficult circumstances, and continues to offer a range of excellent programmes. The report references dedicated staff teams who are committed to making Altcourse a safe place for staff and prisoners alike and this is reflected in the reduction in incidents of violence seen in the prison over the past year.  

The report references the consistent and effective education of prisoners about the dangers of new psychoactive substances (NPS), synthetic forms of traditional drugs that have had devastating effects across the prison estate. While new legislation brought into force in May 2016 now has criminalised the trade of NPS, the report states that more prisoners at Altcourse say “they wouldn’t touch the stuff” as a result of the innovative substance misuse programmes. Drug detection has also been enhanced, by the use of specially trained sniffer dogs who have been trained to detect the most common forms of NPS.

Steve Williams, newly appointed director at HMP Altcourse said:

“Today’s report acknowledges that as a local prison, HMP Altcourse can be a challenging and, at times volatile environment and it is encouraging that the board has found that new initiatives put in place last year to tackle violence are seeing results and prisoner attitudes towards the blight of New Psychoactive Substances are changing.

“While this report highlights some of the challenges we experienced with recruitment of staff at the prison between April and June this year, we have recruited an additional 52 prison officers since then and a cohort of 28 has already started work with us. They will join a very able team, which as monitors rightly recognise today, treat prisoners with respect, courtesy and dignity in often very difficult circumstances.   

"Like many prisons around the country, safety and security continues to be a priority but we must also ensure we have the right training, skills and support for prisoners which ensures their time in custody is as productive as possible.  Over the coming months we will continue to build on the successful programmes already in place and strengthen our engagement with prisoners so that we can improve safety for everyone in the prison community and develop the interventions which have the greatest chance of successfully reducing reoffending."

Notes to Editors

The Independent Monitoring Boards full report can be found on the IMB website

Government figures published in March 2016 showed that all assaults at HMP Altcourse declined to 414 in 2015 from 544 in 2014. The complete figures can be found under 'Assaults in prison custody'.