A new report published this week paints a very dismal picture of Nottingham Prison claiming it is dangerous with many incidents of violence, staff assaults,hostage situations amongst other things.
None of this surprises me and it is a situation which can only get worse.
All the prisons I have experience of seem to have a community feel to them where there exists at least a minimal feeling that staff are interested. For some reason this has never existed at Nottingham, rather it is a very cold and bland community. It is far too fragmented to achieve anything. Certainly there can be no legitimate claim that there is any attempt at all to rehabilitate.
The main reason for that has always been that Nottingham is very much a transit prison where men arrive
from the courts to be allocated to where they will actually serve their sentence, there just isn’t time for any rehab work to take place.
Of course the staffing levels are a huge problem. Staff have been cut so far that it has now reached the stage where what few staff there are are hard pressed to maintain good order and discipline. It just can’t work and the prison department are kidding themselves if they think a new governor and management team will make any difference.
What is needed and the only thing which will have any effect at all is a huge improvment in staff levels and a radical in training in staff attitudes.