The HMCIP report follows the Inspector's recent visit to the prison, which is managed and operated by Serco on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. The report highlights that the prison has made 'considerable progress since the last inspection in January 2013 with improvements evident across all four of the healthy prison tests'.
The Inspector describes HMP Thameside as 'a respectful prison' where the relationship between the staff and prisoners continues to be a strength and where the staff, who were inexperienced in 2013 soon after the prison opened, had 'grown both in confidence and competence.' Thameside is a new prison and the report notes that 'the environment was well maintained and the accommodation was among the best we have seen in any local prison.'
The report goes on to note that 'work to promote safety was very promising' and although violence continues to be a serious challenge in Thameside, the report recognises that 'prisoners reported positively, and better than in similar establishments, about their feelings and perceptions of safety.' It goes on to state that 'the prison was working hard to better understand the challenges of bullying and violence, and was undertaking useful initiatives, including work to tackle gang affiliations, to improve the situation. Consultation with prisoners about the problem of violence was meaningful and the prison was also ensuring that vulnerable prisoners were protected from victimisation.'
Working with Serco to deliver an offender management service are its two partner agencies, Catch 22 (behaviour management and liaison with external services such as probation) and Turning Point (issues arising from drug and alcohol misuse). The Prison Service has contracted education provision to A4E, and career information and advice to Prospects. Health services have been contracted to Care UK.
John Biggin, Serco's Director of HMP Thameside said "Everyone from Serco and our partners at HMP Thameside has worked hard over the last three years to make this a safe, secure prison and I am delighted that this report recognises the improvements that we have made.? However we are not complacent and we know that we still have a great deal of work to do to continue to progress and make Thameside a prison of which everyone can be proud."
HMP Thameside opened in March 2012 having been designed and built by Serco. Located adjacent to HMP Belmarsh and HMP Isis in South East London, it is a purpose built Local Prison serving several East London courts. The prison currently holds up to 900 Category B prisoners; approximately 75% remand and 25% sentenced prisoners. It can also accommodate unsentenced male Young Offenders.