HMP Ashfield, a prison near Bristol managed and operated by Serco on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been assessed as ‘good’, the highest grade, for safety, respect, and purposeful activity in the latest report published today by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.
The Chief Inspector said Ashfield was ‘very safe’ with few fights and low use of force by staff. He also found that the prison provided a respectful environment, and relationships between staff and prisoners were particularly strong, with 86% of prisoners saying that staff treated them with respect.
The Ashfield buildings were in good condition, there was no overcrowding, and there were areas devoted to gardens and animal husbandry. Purposeful activity – including training and education – had improved significantly since the last inspection in 2015. Ofsted inspectors found that provision across the board in education, skills and work was good and there were high quality facilities for sports and exercise, and a good library. Time out of cell for prisoners was exceptionally good.
Martin Booth, Serco’s Prison Director at HMP Ashfield said: “We welcome this very positive report from the Chief Inspector of Prisons, rating HMP Ashfield as ‘good’, the highest standard, in three of the four tests of a healthy prison.
“As well as this HMIP report, the audit of HMP Ashfield’s Learning and Skills provision by Ofsted, and the audit of healthcare by Care Quality Commission were also extremely positive.
“We also recognise that the report highlights some areas for improvement. We are addressing those that are our responsibility and I am pleased to say that we have already agreed plans to improve the training and supervision of staff working with men convicted of sex offences. We are also reviewing with the MoJ the range of commissioned interventions.”
The Ministry of Justice’s Annual Prison Performance Ratings for England and Wales were published last week. HMP Ashfield received a rating of 4: ‘Exceptional’. The other four prisons that Serco manage in England (HMP Doncaster, HMP Dovegate, HMP Lowdham Grange and HMP Thameside) received a rating of 3: ‘Acceptable’. Two of them, HMP Thameside and HMP Lowdham Grange, improved their ratings from last year.
The full HMIP report can be read here