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Monday 23 April 2018
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HMP Preston - an encouraging picture


HMP Preston continued to make improvements, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced short follow-up inspection of the Lancashire local jail.


HMP Preston was last inspected in 2009 and was commended for performing reasonably well against all four tests of a healthy prison: safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement, in spite of old and cramped facilities and a transient population. This inspection found the prison had maintained its positive momentum and made further progress.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • reception facilities and processes had improved and there was better provision for those in their early days of custody;
  • effective measures had been introduced to reduce the risk of violence between prisoners;
  • security arrangements were reasonable and the use of CCTV had been clarified;
  • there was good joint working to support those with substance misuse problems;
  • there had been good progress on equality issues;
  • better partnership working had led to improvements in primary health care, including mental health;
  • the wide range of activities available had been made more effective by better processes for allocation to work, and the use of individual learning plans;
  • work to reduce the risk of reoffending had improved, with some access to courses for short-term prisoners; and
  • offending behaviour programmes offered had changed appropriately to match the population profile.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • too few staff had been trained to manage the risk of self-harm;
  • governance of the use of force remained inadequate;
  • custody planning for those on remand or short sentences was underdeveloped; and
  • further improvement was needed in provision for foreign national prisoners.

Nick Hardwick said:

'HMP Preston has maintained a satisfactory standard of prisoner care and custody over a considerable period and has continued with the positive response to the recommendations arising from the last inspection, particularly in equality and resettlement. For a local prison, working with many outdated buildings, this report presents an encouraging picture, although there are several areas which could be improved through means which are within local management control.'

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:

'I welcome the Chief Inspector’s findings that Preston continues to improve in the four key healthy prison tests. His comments around resettlement are particularly pleasing. Work in this area is critical in getting prisoners work-ready and prepared for release.'

View a copy of the report.




  1. HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
  2. This unannounced short follow-up inspection was carried out from 10-12 April 2012.
  3. HMP Preston is a category B local prison for male adults.
  4. Please contact Jane Parsons at HMI Prisons on 07880 787552 if you would like more information or to request an interview with Nick Hardwick.


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Ministry of Justice