Serco, which manages and operates HMP Thameside on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, welcomes the latest report by Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, which says that the prison ‘bucks the trend of increasing violence’. The inspectors found that the prison had a generally settled and respectful atmosphere and identified an ‘unusually high number of good practice points’ from which other establishments could learn.
Commenting on the report, Craig Thomson, Serco’s Contract Director, said: “As the Chief Inspector says, for a local prison to be assessed in the current climate as reasonably good in three of the four healthy prison tests is a real achievement.
“We have bucked the trend of increasing violence in prisons and we have not experienced the rises in violence seen elsewhere; this is down to our violence reduction programme, which is starting to make real headway.
“Our drug supply reduction strategy is also gaining traction in the fight against NPS and other narcotics, but we know we have much more to do to combat this pernicious problem.
“We will continue to take a zero tolerance approach to any acts of violence and the importing and use of drugs and we will push for harsh sentences where anyone is found guilty of these crimes.
“As the report points out we have clear plans to make progress in some key areas. The leadership and all the staff here are totally committed to making improvements and building on what we have already achieved and I am really proud of everyone’s professionalism and hard work.”
This is the third independent report this year that demonstrates that HMP Thameside is a well-run prison. Recently the IMB praised the leadership and staff and also noted that the prison ‘bucks the national trend on safety and staffing’, and that prisoners ‘generally feel safe and the Serco-run prison is fully staffed’. In June this year the prison was given a rating score of ‘3’ in the annual Prison Rating Scores, meaning it is ‘Meeting the majority of targets’.
Notes for guidance
Healthcare at HMP Thameside is commissioned by NHS England and provided by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust since April 2015. It is not the responsibility of Serco. Any reporting should make clear these separate responsibilities.