criminal justice
voluntary sector

Prison Management 2019

criminal justice

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:30

Thursday 12 September 2019

America Square Conference Centre, Central London

This Forum will provide participants with the opportunity to share strategies for raising prison standards and reducing growing rates of violence, self-harm, drug smuggling and drug use. Participants will hear from the Ministry of Justice and figures at the forefront of prison policy on the progress of a number of different policies to tackle violence and improve security in prisons. In addition, best practice case studies will share guidance on reducing drug smuggling, effectively enhancing prison safety and working in partnership between prisons and the voluntary sector to enhance prison management.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Crime and Voluntary Sectors. Typical job titles will include:

  • Chief Executive
  • Criminal Justice Operations Manager
  • Criminal Justice Adviser
  • Criminal Justice Programme Manager
  • Deputy-Governor
  • Director
  • Director of Youth Justice and Offender Policy
  • Governor
  • Head of Community Payback
  • Head of Criminal Justice & Custody
  • Head of Learning and Skills
  • Head of Policy
  • Head of Safety and Equalities
  • Head of Strategy
  • Senior Policy Advisor

This Forum is also open to the wider public sector to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Jerome Glass, Director of Prison Policy, Ministry of Justice
  • Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform
  • Anne Fox, Chief Executive, Clinks
  • Graham Atkins, Senior Researcher, Associate Director, Institute for Government
  • Jose Aguair, Educational Consultant, HMP Pentonville
  • Dominique Airey, Chief Executive, Khulisa
  • Mike Trace, Chief Executive, Forward Trust
  • Dr Sarah Lewis, Project Manager, HMP Guys Marsh
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to the Prison Peformance Ratings of 2018/2019, 14% of prisons were rated as having performance of serious concern, the highest proportion since ratings began. Incidents of self-harm and prisoner and prison assault are at a record high, with 86% of prisons rated as having performance of concern or serious concern for each of these measures. As prisons become increasingly violent and unsafe, HMIP have admitted that they have ‘documented some of the most disturbing prison conditions we have ever seen’.

Spiralling levels of overcrowding, drug smuggling and recidivism across prisons has resulted in the biggest public call for prison reform in recent times. Reflecting growing concerns over prison quality, the 2017 Lammy Review called for a huge reform in the life of prisoners and highlighted the need for safer prisons focused on rehabilitation and support for vulnerable inmates, alongside calling for an independent review into discrimination of BAME individuals in the Criminal Justice System.

In August 2018, the government announced a new project which would tackle some of the main problems being faced in 10 of the UK’s most challenging prisons. Backed by £10 million of funding, the project aims to combat violent behaviour in prisons through tackling the smuggling of drugs into prisons, improving security and boosting leadership capabilities.

This is in addition to the £30 million package announced in July 2018, which includes £16 million pledged to tackle maintenance needs in estates and an additional £7 million to improve prison security, which includes the installation of X ray scanners and refurbished cells and shared areas. This coincided with the introduction of specialist search teams being hired into prisons to disrupt and deter violence in prisons.

Following on from this, the Prison Drugs Strategy was published in April 2019, which outlined the government’s commitment to a co-ordinated response to tackling the growing drug problem in prisons through restricting supply, reducing demands and building recovery abilities. In May 2019, a new Anti-Corruption specialist taskforce was also announced which will pursue corrupt activity in prisons by investigating and disrupting criminality.

This drive to improve prison security comes amid the recent riots at HMP Birmingham, where significant damage was caused to the prison estate and several injuries occurred. With the government taking control of the running of the prison to initiate a period of stabilization, the urgency of reform is clearer than ever.

With HMIP issuing warnings about the nationwide state of prison conditions, it is imperative that both prisons and the voluntary sector are working in partnership to raise the standards of UK prisons. This will require implementing effective strategies for rehabilitation and anti-discrimination, improving the quality of security to minimize violence and drug smuggling and transforming prison design to demonstrate quality levels of prison management and excel at inspection. 


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Dr Serena Wright, Lecturer in Criminology, Royal Holloway, University of London (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Examining the Government's Commitment to Improve the Quality of UK Prisons

  • Outlining the government’s commitment of £70 million to bring UK prisons up to standard and sharing how this funding will be distributed
  • Sharing preliminary findings from the 10 Prisons Project and the impact that initiatives such as training staff to better manage prisoner behaviour has had on overall prison security and violence
  • Understanding the new Prison Drugs Strategy and how this will be implemented in prisons nationwide through restricting supply, reducing demands and building recovery
  • Gaining an insight into the development of the anti-corruption taskforce and how this will work in practice to disrupt violence in prisons
  • Discussing the government’s plans to to replace old and expensive accommodation in prisons with 10,000 modern and safe spaces and how this will drive nationwide prison standards
  • Considering the next steps to be taken to improve the quality of UK prisons, including trialling new security technology and alternative design at five prisons nationwide

Jerome Glass, Director of Prison Policy, Ministry of Justice (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Outlining the Role of the Voluntary Sector in Improving Prison Standards

  • Highlighting the important role that the voluntary sector can play in improving prison standards and the importance of working in partnership to find solutions to challenges faced in prisons
  • Gaining an insight into how better coordination of voluntary organisation provision in prisons results in improved safety, more effective rehabilitation and enhanced prisoner access to voluntary sector support
  • Examining the model of voluntary sector coordination which resulted from the pilot project in three prisons and how this can be implemented in practice
  • Sharing recommendations for prisons to harness the potential of the voluntary sector, including having a single point of contact to co-ordinate voluntary sector engagement and ensuring opportunities for prisoners to engage in the sector are supported at senior level
  • Offering recommendations for the voluntary sector, including facilitating positive partnership working, developing effective referral pathways and prioritising the needs of service users

Anne Fox, Chief Executive, Clinks (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Tackling Substance Misuse in Prisons to Improve Rehabilitation

  • Outlining how the Forward Trust work to support prisoners struggling with drugs or alcohol reduction and the crucial need to tackle this in prisons, with more than 50% of prisoners having some history of drug or alcohol addiction
  • Examining the alcohol and drugs services the charity carries out in prisons, including clinical services, motivational work and group work programmes
  • Highlighting how the Rapt 12 step programme resulted in a 65% reduction in the volume of re-offending by participants
  • Discussing the importance of tackling substance misuse among prisoners, as a means to improve rehabilitation, prisoner behaviour and tackle the growing issue of drugs usage in prisons
  • Sharing guidance on working in partnership between the voluntary sector and prisons to improve prison management

Mike Trace, Chief Executive, Forward Trust (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Establishing Strong Staff-Inmate Relationships to Embed a Rehabilitative Culture Within a Prison

  • Outlining how developing strong relationships between staff and inmates contributed to HMP Warren Hill being rated as the best prison in the country by HMPPS
  • Discussing how the prison was praised for personal development and low levels of violence and how this was achieved by embedding a rehabilitative culture and principles of normality into routine prison life
  • Examining how communication can be used as a tool for risk management, encouraging principles of normality and a rehabilitative culture, for example by referring to inmates as ‘residents’ and renaming cells as ‘rooms’
  • Ensuring inmates are well prepared for parole, for example by providing a rich arts and cultural programme and providing excellent work and education opportunities, resulting in 105 of 130 inmates being granted early release after meeting the parole board

Sonia Walsh, Governor, HMP Warren Hill (invited)


Case Study: Enhancing Prison Standards - 10 Prisons Project Perspective

  • Outlining new initiatives piloted in HMP Isis through the 10 Prisons Project, including the introduction of specialist staff and teams alongside a drugs strategy manager, and a diagnostic visit for the prison to identify the causes of violence and drug smuggling and how to tackle them
  • Trialling new devices which identify chemical traces for a range of drugs, including Spice, and can detect mobile phones smuggled in via visitor’s bodies
  • Highlighting the impact so far of enhanced drug security checks, such as the number of prisoners testing positive for drugs test halving within a year
  • Introducing more training programmes and projects for inmates to learn new skills and trades, such as cooking and meditation classes, boosting inmate morale and opportunities to enrol on work programmes upon release

Emily Thomas, Governor, HMP Isis (invited)


Case Study: Working in Partnership to Reduce Violence in Prisons

  • Examining Khulisa’s ‘Silence the Violence’ programme, a high-impact violence reduction programme delivered in prisons to reduce violence and improve prison behavior
  • Offering guidance on managing prisoner behaviour, for example utilizing restorative techniques, improving listening skills and promoting greater awareness of the effects of violent behaviour
  • Sharing insight into how to recognize high risk situations, including techniques to teach prisoners that enable them to avoid or cope with situations that instigate violent behavior
  • Outlining how the programme resulted in improve outcomes for prisoners, such as an increase in confidence and self-esteem, an increase in motivation and ambition and an improve ability to identify goals for the future
  • Highlighting the direct impact in prisons, for example how introducing the programme in HMP Forest Bank resulted in a 90% reduction in self-reported violent tendencies
  • Discussing how prisons can work in partnership with charities to improve prison standards, such as how to identify charities to work with and how to build a beneficial relationship

Dominique Airey, Chief Executive, Khulisa (CONFIRMED)

Winners of the 2018 Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-integration


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Providing Safe and Secure Prisons - Effective Strategies to Reduce Violence

  • How has spending on prisons changed since 2010?
  • What has this meant for performance and efficiency?
  • How do prisons compare to other public services?

Graham Atkins, Senior Researcher, Institute for Government (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Tackling Staffing Challenges within the Prison System to Improve Prison Standards

  • Highlighting the importance of strong and effective leadership in ensuring high prison standards and delivering an environment that is conducive to effective rehabilitation
  • Discussing the key issues facing prison staffing at the mid to senior levels of management, including ensuring that leaders have sufficient experience and dealing with low staff retention due to worsening conditions
  • Addressing the concern of falling prison staff recruitment and retention, and highlighting the correlation between growing violence and reduced staff numbers
  • What steps can be taken to approach staffing challenges and consequently improve the quality of the UK’s prisons?
  • Sharing best practice in effectively training staff to facilitate conferences for prisoners involved in fights, to discuss and resolve their issues 

Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Providing High Quality Prison Officers to Improve Prison Management

  • Examining the Unlocked Graduates programme, an innovative graduate programme, recommended by the Coates’ Review of Prison Education, which aims to recruit ambitious graduates to work as frontline prison officers
  • Placing 150 officers in 12 prisons across London and the South East and outlining plans to expand across the country
  • Discussing how the programme aims to reduce reoffending by challenging prison officers to identify problems and design solutions
  • Highlighting the crucial role that prison officers can play in improving rehabilitation and how ensuring that prison staff are properly trained to support prisoners can result in improved prison behavior
  • Considering how Unlocked Graduates is tackling the prison staff recruitment crisis through providing high quality and effectively trained prison officers to tackle the growing issues prevalent in prisons today

Senior Representative, Unlocked Graduates (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Deploying Alternative Forms of Teaching to Provide Award-Winning Prisoner Education

  • Setting up the Linked-Up initiative in partnership with London Shakespeare Workout and HMP Pentonville in association with UK drama & music schools
  • Providing an alternative to conventional education: creating meaningful prison interaction with as many performance arts academy students as possible to offer inmates an opportunity to share in an enhanced dramatic experience
  • Using a 12 week in-house drama programme that includes the creation of a radio programme for National Prison Radio to promote emotional intelligence and self-confidence
  • Developing programmes such as Learning Together to provide the space to co-construct learning opportunities that meet the needs of all students, regardless of their context

Jose Aguair, Educational Consultant, HMP Pentonville (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Leading Prison Improvement Through an Innovative Project

  • Examining HMP Guys Marsh’s journey following its assessment as ‘out of control’ five years ago towards leading ‘significant and substantial’ improvement, resulting in a four point increase in inspection
  • Sharing initiatives the prison has taken to raise prison standards, including hiring an equality officer to promote equality, improving staff-prisoner relationships and initiatives to promote prisoner wellbeing and reduce self-harm
  • Examining the Growth Project, which incorporates Norwegian prison practice philosophies or rehabilitation within prison processes, and how this has resulted in month on month reduction in violence
  • Discussing the importance of gaining commitment from staff and residents for the project to succeed and how to ensure effective engagement
  • Considering lessons that can be learnt from the Norweigan prison system and how these can be implemented within prisons to improve rehabilitation, reduce violence and self-harm and raise prison standards

Dr Sarah Lewis, Project Manager, HMP Guys Marsh (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change


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