Portland prisoners 'set up to fail'

Portland prisoners 'set up to fail'

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:29am 29th August 2019.

Prisoners at HMP/YOI Portland are being 'set up to fail' according to the latest report by the Independent Monitoring Board.

The report also questions whether inmates are being treated humanely due to the conditions in cells.

Part of the problem is to do with the age of the building.

Inspectors found cells where:

  • Toilets are not screened
  • Basic furniture was lacking
  • Temperatures impossible to control

Standards of cleanliness can also be poor with showers often out of order.

prison cell


Inspectors say prisoner complaints about intimidation and excessive use of force by staff have been hard to address.

There have been cases where staff have not switched on body worn video cameras and CCTV cameras have failed

The report found the prisoners are often locked up for long hours in cells, with education, work and exercise activities curtailed or cancelled due to staff shortages.

prison cell

The IMB say attempts to improve matters at Portland were patchy and inconsistent, or hampered in part by insufficient staff numbers or experience at every level.

Improvements have been made with the support and management of complex prisoners.

The Board found work undertaken in prisoners' employment and education, and also resettlement and rehabilitation services in Portland to prepare prisoners for release to be good. However, the lack of accommodation provision around the country means that prisoners often cannot take advantage of early release dates or are released with no fixed abode. 

Chair Anna Knight said: 

"Homelessness on release makes it difficult for some to stick to their licence conditions, which means an early return to prison. The way the system works at the moment sets people up to fail."