25 June 2013
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons’ report describes La Moye Prison as “an institution that had been transformed, both physically and in terms of improved practice” since it was last inspected in 2005.
La Moye Prison was inspected by HM Inspectorate of Prisons from 11 to 15 February 2013 following an invitation from the Home Affairs Department.
Their independent report assesses the conditions and treatment under the four tests of a healthy prison:
- purposeful activity
La Moye has been assessed as good or reasonably good in all of these areas.
A safe prison
The report describes La Moye as a safe prison, where prisoners reported feeling safe and violent incidents were low. HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, says one of its key strengths is the “excellent quality of staff-prisoner relationships” and that prisoners feel respected. The quality of learning and skills offered by the prison was also praised, with the achievement of qualifications by prisoners described as “outstanding”.
The report says most of the prison accommodation is new and of a high standard, but it does express some concerns about the quality of facilities in the Segregation Unit. It also raises concerns about people under the age of 18 being detained at La Moye.
La Moye Prison Governor, Bill Millar, said “I am pleased to note that the excellent work done by my management team and staff has been recognised and placed on public record in a very good report from HMCIP. There is still much to be done and we will consider the Chief Inspector’s recommendations very carefully but Jersey now has a Prison Service it can be proud of and a prison that is most definitely moving in the right direction.”
Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian Le Marquand, said “The States of Jersey has made significant capital investment in the prison to make it fit for purpose for many years to come so I am delighted that HMCIP has reported so positively on the structural improvements. I am equally delighted that despite financial cut backs and having to cater for on-going construction work on site, the prison has performed so well against the healthy prison tests deployed by HMCIP. I wish to congratulate the Prison Governor and his staff for achieving the standards they have now reached.
Need for further improvements
That said, I do accept that there is still a need for further improvements. In regard to HMCIP’s two main recommendations, it is acknowledged that it is less than desirable to have young offenders under the age of 18 sharing facilities in what is predominantly an adult prison and this is being actively addressed by the Children’s Policy Group. Legislative changes are required to facilitate change and law drafting work is at an advanced stage.
Refurbishment of the Custodial Care Unit (referred to as the segregation unit) was planned prior to the arrival of the Inspection team. While we still have to make the best of a poorly designed facility, the refurbishment work has been completed and this facility is now in a much more acceptable state.
In his release to the media, HMCIP also comments on care planning for prisoners at risk of self harm and some security practices being disproportionate. A very comprehensive review of the policy for the management of those at risk of self harm was completed in 2010 and significant improvements put in place as a consequence. The revised policy and procedures have proved to be very successful with a very low instance of self harm and no fatalities since its introduction.
The Chief Inspector was critical of the frequency of strip searching concluding that this was disproportionate. However, unlike our comparators in the UK, prisoners in the mainstream accommodation blocks here are permitted access to the community. This increases the level of risk in regard to trafficking of illicit goods into the prison and more stringent security precautions are necessary. The volume of positive drug test results in La Moye is exceptionally low as are breaches of security and consequently, I would be reluctant to propose a relaxation in security measures.”