Bishop of Southwark asks about assaults, self-harm, time in cells and staffing levels at Wandsworth Prison

On 9th January 2018 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to six questions about Wandsworth Prison, which is based within his diocese:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of prisoners on custodial sentence at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth, other than segregated prisoners, spent at least 22 hours locked in their cell on any day in the latest month for which figures are available.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of prisoners on custodial sentence at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth were unlocked for at least six hours each weekday in the latest month for which figures are available.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many serious assaults by inmates on one another at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth were recorded in each of the last two years for which figures are available.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many incidents of self-harm by inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth were recorded in each of the last two years for which figures are available.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prison staff at bands 3 to 5 were assigned to Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth; and how many vacancies there were in each of the last two years for which figures are available.

(vi) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) operational prison staff at each of bands (a) 3, (b) 4, and (c) 5, are employed at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth, (2) operational staff on detached duty from other establishments, and (3) vacancies for such posts, there were for each of the last two years for which figures are available.


Answers:

Lord Keen of Elie:

(i) The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The Government is fully committed to making our prisons safe so that they can provide the maximum time out of cell for meaningful and purposeful activity to give prisoners the training, skills and work experience needed on release. HL4429


(ii) The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The Government is fully committed to making our prisons safe so that they can provide the maximum time out of cell for meaningful and purposeful activity to give prisoners the training, skills and work experience needed on release. HL4430


(iii) In 2015, 9 serious prisoner-on-prisoner assaults were recorded at HMP Wandsworth. In 2016, the number was 22.

The level of violence in prisons is too high. We will improve prison safety and address the significant overall increase in the number of assaults, by providing additional staff and giving them the tools and training that will help to reduce violence. HL4431 


(iv) In 2015, 91 incidents of self-harm were recorded at HMP Wandsworth. In 2016, the number was 118.

The Government takes very seriously its responsibility to keep prisoners safe. We have established a prison safety programme that includes a comprehensive set of actions, including: rolling out revised and improved training for staff in assessing and managing the risk of suicide and self-harm amongst prisoners; improving support for prisoners in their early days in custody; revising the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork case management process for those identified as being at risk; and funding the Samaritans to provide their valuable Listeners Scheme. HL4432

 


(v) The number of band 3-5 prison staff at HMP Wandsworth as at 30 September 2016 and as at 30 September 2017 is provided in the table below:

Table 1: Number of full-time equivalent (FTE) bands 3 to 5 staff working at HMP Wandsworth, as at 30 September 2016 and as at 30 September 2017
Grade FTE as at 30 September 2016 FTE as at 30 September 2017
Bands 3-5* 355 383
*Includes staff in operational and non-operational band 3 to 5 grades. These figures for 30 September 2016 and 30 September 2017 can also be found in the in:
  • Table 12 of the NOMS workforce statistics bulletin at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/567179/noms-workforce-statistics-tables-september-2016.xlsx

  • Table 12 of the HMPPS workforce statistics bulletin at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/her-majestys-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-september-2017

Staff shortfalls (ie. vacancies) previously presented in NOMS/HMPPS workforce statistics have been based on the difference between staff benchmarks and staff in post figures. However, staff benchmarks previously in place are no longer in use and are being replaced by new target staffing levels under the new Offender Management in custody model. At present, the target staffing levels are not sufficiently developed and work is ongoing in order to further develop these.

The last set of published benchmark levels and staff shortfalls, as at 31 March 2017, showed that there was a shortfall of 38 full time equivalent band 3-5 prison staff at HMP Wandsworth. This information forms part of the table 14 at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-offender-management-service-workforce-quarterly-march-2017

HL4433


(vi) The number of band 3-5 operational prison staff at HMP Wandsworth are provided in the table below:

Table 1: Number of full-time equivalent (FTE) bands 3 to 5 prison officers working at HMP Wandsworth, as at 30 September 2016 and as at 30 September 2017

Grade FTE as at 30 September 2016 FTE as at 30 September 2017
Band 3-4 / Prison Officer (incl. specialists) 212 240
Band 4 / Supervising Officer 31 29
Band 5 / Custodial Managers 18 17

These figures for 30 September 2016 and 30 September 2017 can also be found in the in:

  • Table 12 of the NOMS workforce statistics bulletin at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/567179/noms-workforce-statistics-tables-september-2016.xlsx

  • Table 12 of the HMPPS workforce statistics bulletin at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/her-majestys-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-september-2017

There were approximately 13 operational staff on detached duty in HMP Wandsworth as at 30 September 2016 and none as at 30 September 2017. This data is collated and held internally by the National Detached Duty team which oversees national Detached Duty arrangements.

Staff shortfalls (ie. vacancies) previously presented in NOMS/HMPPS workforce statistics have been based on the difference between staff benchmarks and staff in post figures. However, staff benchmarks previously in place are no longer in use and are being replaced by new target staffing levels under the new Offender Management in custody model. At present, the target staffing levels are not sufficiently developed and work is ongoing in order to further develop these. The last set of published benchmark levels and staff shortfalls, as at 31 March 2017, showed that there was a shortfall of 26 full time equivalent band 3-5 prison officers. This information can also be found in table 14 at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-offender-management-service-workforce-quarterly-march-2017

HL4434