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HM Inspectorate of Prisons: Report on HMP Inverness: Unannounced Full Inspection, 5-9 November 2007

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4. RESPECT

Outcomes

Prisoners are treated with respect by prison staff.

4.1 Met. Most staff and prisoners know each other. No inappropriate nicknames are used. However, not all staff wear their name badges. A number of prisoners spoke very positively about the way they were treated by staff.

Prisoners are treated with respect for their dignity while being escorted to and from prison, in prison and while under escort in any location.

4.2 Met. Staff treat prisoners well. Vehicles are clean. Prisoners are not handcuffed coming off vans. However, there are some long journeys which may be uncomfortable. Prisoner escort arrangements are carried out appropriately.

Relationships

4.3 The observed relationships between staff and prisoners throughout the establishment were positive and mutually respectful. First names were always used when addressing prisoners and no inappropriate name calling was heard. A number of prisoners spoke very positively about they way they were treated by staff. Many of the prisoners appear to be well known to the staff and this means that the staff have a significant knowledge of prisoners personal issues. Some staff were not wearing their name badges during the inspection.

4.4 Informing prisoners of sensitive or unwelcome news is based on the needs of the individual. This information would usually be imparted by a member of staff with whom the prisoner is most familiar.

Equality and Diversity

4.5 Two foreign national prisoners were living in Inverness on the first day of the inspection. There was also one prisoner registered disabled and two who were temporarily incapacitated.

4.6 The Equality and Diversity Group is chaired by the Deputy Governor and attended by the Estates Manager, a range of uniformed staff, a prisoner and a community volunteer. There is also administrative support for the group. No impact assessments have been carried out on any establishment policies. This should be addressed. An extensive training programme in Equality and Diversity has been carried out within the establishment and at the time of the inspection only four staff had not undertaken the training.

4.7 The age of the establishment means that it is not easily accessible for individuals with severe mobility problems. Whilst there are some ramps around the prison there is no easy access to many of the residential areas. For example, a female prisoner with severe mobility problems would be unable to access the female unit unaided.

4.8 There are two cells which are used for prisoners with a physical disability. Neither offer easy access for individuals who are wheelchair-bound.

4.9 The prison has an estate action plan and a significant amount of work requires to be done in order to become compliant.

4.10 Interpreting services are available via a telephone service for emergencies and on site interpreters for planned meetings and case conferences. Muslim prisoners currently do not have access to a local Imam. They do however have access to a prayer mat and the Koran. Their dietary needs can be met at all times.

4.11 The prison has an environment which is tolerant of minority need. The Equality and Diversity Group however needs to become less reactive and more strategic in how it conducts its business.

Searching

4.12 The searching of prisoners is carried out in line with SPS policy and prison rules. Body searches are carried out only by staff of the same gender. Searches are conducted in a sensitive manner. Prisoners understand the need for searching and the reasons for individual searches.