Watchdog warns over jail cuts

Lindholme Prison near Doncaster
Lindholme Prison near Doncaster

A prisons watchdog has raised concerns about levels of staffing at one of Doncaster’s jails.

The Independent Monitoring Board’s annual report for Lindholme Prison has raised concerns about the impacts cuts are having on prison life.

The report states: “The stringent financial circumstances have had a serious impact with staff shortages having a detrimental effect on the service being provided, not least the regular closing of the library, a facility that can give education and help offenders with their rehabilitation.”

“The large number of ‘staff and prisoner notices’ announcing the curtailment of weekend regime operations further emphasises the lack of staff operating the prison.”

It also raised concerns over a shortage of jobs at the jail, which has recently become a working prison, where inmates do work.

However, the report adds that the board was pleased the jail had secured new work contracts, notably one between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence, to provide a large number of jobs for inmates at the jail.

A spokesman for the board said it had seen a difficult period during its reporting year, which ended on January 31.

The jail became classified as a ‘working prison’ in October.

During the year, one governor took maternity leave, and an interim governor was in place before a full appointment was made.

The spokesman said: “The overall judgement of the board is HMP Lindholme is a well-managed prison taking seriously its role of rehabilitating prisoners.

“Although the governing governor has only been in post since January, there is now stability and the current senior management will take the prison forward.”

During the time of the inspection, the jail’s inmates included 14 foreign nationals, 67 people serving a life sentence and 91 with indeterminate sentences for public protection.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “HMP Lindholme is an effective prison and, as this independent report recognises, strenuous efforts have been made to provide working opportunities for prisoners.

“Since this inspection, we have responded to staffing pressures through an effective recruitment campaign and, as a result, HMP Lindholme is fully staffed.

“The prison also runs a safe and secure regime, with normal levels of association time for offenders.”