Volunteers needed to go into HMP Portland

Volunteers needed to go into HMP Portland

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:22pm 8th January 2020.

Volunteers are needed to go behind the scenes at Portland Prison.

The Independent Monitoring Board are looking for new members.

Their role is to make sure standards for care and decency are maintained.

Board members are given unrestricted access to the prison and can talk to prisoners and staff - they also deal with prisoner's complaints. 

Annually the IMB report their findings to the Prisons Minister. 

portland prison

HMP Portland currently houses approximately 500 men in the final years of their sentence and aims to provide a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

The current Chairperson, Anna Knight, is retiring after 10 years on the Board. 

She said:

"It's been a rewarding and purposeful position. Involvement and insight into the lives of prisoners and staff gives you a real feeling for how the establishment is doing, and the progress that is being made towards rehabilitation.
"It's enormously varied work. One day you might be sitting in on the review of a troubled prisoner in the Segregation Unit; another, welcoming new arrivals in their induction class. 

"New prisoners can find the experience very disorientating - one who had been transferred from London had never seen anywhere like Portland before and commented on being surrounded by sea and feeling like he was being held 'in a castle'."

Anyone interested in joining the Board should, in the first instance contact Margaret Melhuish (07810 617827) or Gillian Fearnyough (07887 776477) for a chat about the work and guidance on how to apply.