HMP Featherstone praised, but work still to be done

HMP Featherstone is a highly effective training prison but more needs to be done to stop issues of prisoner ‘debts’, a watchdog has said.

Featherstone prison - Wolverhampton

A surprise inspection was carried out at the category C prison in South Staffordshire, which has around 700 inmates.

In a report, the Chief Inspector of Prisons today said HMP Featherstone was ‘a very effective training prison’. but did need to strengthen some of its safety processes.

They found the quality of work and education on offer at the prison was better than they usually see during other prison visits.

But concerns were raised about problems of debt in the prison – linked in part to the availability of drugs and medicines – which they say can lead to low-level violent incidents and bullying.

Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, said: “HMP Featherstone was a very positive establishment.

“It did very well in what other prisons sometimes find difficult – the more intangible qualities of culture, relationships and leadership.”

“However, the prison struggled with what should have been an easier task- putting in place the processes and systems needed to underpin its good work and ensure there were no gaps through which more vulnerable men, or those who might pose a higher risk, might fall,” he added.

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, welcomed the report.

“I am pleased that the chief inspector has recognised Featherstone as a very effective training prison and the Governor and her staff should be commended for their hard work to achieve this,” he said.

“The prison will continue to build on this good work as they address the recommendations made in this report.”