The Department for Justice and Home Afairs has said that action to address a decline in safety at the Isle of Man Prison is underway.

It comes after the recent publication of a report undertaken by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), which found a number of shortcomings at the prison.

HMIP raised six areas of priority concern, including; governance, at-risk prisoners, clinical governance, prisoner education, public protection and offence-focused interventions.

The DoJHA has released its commentary on the report, outlining the actions being taken to tackle the issues found.

In the response to the report, the DoJHA said: ‘The department welcomes recent initiatives introduced and being planned by the Prison that are already contributing towards achieving the improvements outlined in this report.

‘These new initiatives include, but are not limited to, a new Life Minus Violence intensive course (12 month programme for serious violent offenders that will complete its first cohort this summer), introduction of forensic psychologists, new programmes for general offenders due to start this summer, a Group Intervention Programme for Compassion Focussed Therapy and Substance Abuse programme (in planning).

‘The introduction of these interventions and utilisation of specialist staff are designed to better address offending behaviour and are expected to significantly contribute towards improvement in ratings of rehabilitation and release planning and improve the safety of our Island in the long-term.’

Where the report found inadequate treatment of prisoners at risk of suicide, and self-harm, the department aims to address this by introducing ‘safe cells’ on the induction unit for prisoners who require additional support and who are at risk to keep them safe.

The assessment and management of the risk of serious harm to others were found to be poor, with neither risk management plans nor information about offending behaviour on record to support safe management of individuals in custody or after release.

Actions to tackle this include training this summer, as well as domestic violence offending procedures, assessments and intervention training to take place, and the writing and implementation of a risk of serious harm policy.

Another key concern found was that arriving male prisoners were held in conditions that were unnecessarily intrusive and restrictive,which included prisoners being kept locked up ‘excessively’ in their early days.

The department aims to address this by writing and implementing an induction policy as well as the introduction of a first night risk assessment.

Minister Jane Poole-Wilson will make a statement on the report in Tynwald this week.