The first annual report produced by the Jersey Independent Prison Monitoring Board says that the average number of prisoners in Jersey had ‘steadily declined’ over the past five years and stood at 136 last year. The full capacity of the prison is 241.
According to the report the average cost per prisoner place last year was £76,836. The latest figures show that at the end of 2016 the number of staff at the prison was 152.
Concerns were raised by the panel about whether female prisoners were properly catered for. The average number of female prisoners last year was just six.
‘Such low numbers have resulted in difficulties offering female prisoners as commensurate a range of purposeful activities as male prisoners can access,’ the report says. The panel also raised concerns about the number of elderly ‘post-retirement’ prisoners increasing and whether they were being provided ‘meaningful activity’ to engage in.
Last year 170 incidents were reported to the prison’s safe custody officer, of which 14 were bullying reports, 55 related to injuries, seven concerned assaults on staff and 14 were due to prisoner-on-prisoner assaults.
A total of 52 referrals were made to the safe custody officer regarding self harm during 2017. Meanwhile, 410 drugs tests were carried out over the year, ten of which returned positive results.
The Independent Prison Monitoring Board, which is made up of lay people, replaced the Prison Board of Visitors, which was made up of the Jurats, at the end of 2016 to create greater separation between the service and the Island’s judiciary.