IMB Annual Reports – Health Notes 27 Jan 2020

The IMB reports published last week were from one establishments only, namely HMP Garth.

Here are some of the more interesting points contained within the report, pertaining to health and wellbeing:

IMB Report – HMP Garth

Reporting period – 01 Dec 2017 to 30 Nov 2018.

  • The prison has 2 specialist units, the Beacon Unit, which treats prisoners with profound personality disorders (jointly operated with another NHS Trust provider), and the Building Hope Unit for prisoners with additional disruptive needs.
  • At any given time through the reporting period, there were typically 25–30 ACCT’s throughout the prison. The were 2 deaths in custody during this period.
  • A continuing low number of applications to the IMB is an indication that few significant problems have been recorded about the healthcare department.
  • The Board has concerns about the number of prisoners who have, or appear to have, mental health and personality disorder problems. Good support is provided by the psychology and psychiatry departments and the mental health team but it can always be argued that more resources are needed. The reasons for the high numbers of prisoners with mental health problems are many, including lack of treatment and support in the community which may result in increased levels of offending, which in turn may result in increased numbers of prisoners with these conditions.
  • Increasing the lengths of sentences and the failure to resolve the IPP problem may be seen as aggravating factors. If prisoners cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, date to the end of their sentence, it should be no surprise that some will deteriorate and develop mental health and personality disorder problems. Not all prisoners who have these conditions seek treatment because the organised routine of the prison may offer a structure which enables them to get by without additional support and thus opportunities to help them may be missed.
  • The mental health team, whilst again being low in number, provides good and consistent support, especially in the segregation unit.
  • Concerns remain about the access to acute mental health provision in the region. This all too often means that prisoners with acute conditions frequently have to wait too long for treatment and this can lead to a deterioration in their mental health condition and a consequent increase in behavioural problems.
  • The Board continue to voice our concerns about the wholly inappropriate prisoners’ waiting area in the healthcare department, which is all too often overcrowded and therefore unpleasant to wait in and potentially unsafe.
  • It has long been believed that the “gated cells” (i.e. constant watch cells) should be removed from the segregation unit and relocated in Healthcare. This has not happened because of a lack of resource. The Board believes that this should be funded and carried out as a matter of urgency.
  • Healthcare applications to the IMB increased to 31 from 23 when compared to the previous reporting year.

Full IMB Report – HMP Garth


IMB evidence comes from observations made on rota visits, scrutiny of records and data, attendance at various meetings, informal contact with staff and prisoners, prisoners’ applications and monitoring of areas of concern.


Thanks to Martin Lostak for making this photo available freely on Unsplash


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