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EMMA POWELL & IAN WALTON (HMP Full Sutton)

EMMA POWELL & IAN WALTON (HMP Full Sutton)

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COMMENDEES 2015-16: Emma, from Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust, and Ian, a senior manager at HMP Full Sutton, are Commended for their leadership and management of the prison’s widely praised Close Supervision Centre.

Emma Powell & Ian WaltonEmma Powell is the Clinical Lead at HMP Full Sutton’s Close Supervision Centre (CSC), on secondment from the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust, and is Commended for her work along with Ian Walton, Small Units Governor at Full Sutton (CSC and Segregation).

Their initial nominator, Fiona Mulloy, Head of Psychology and Interventions, at Full Sutton, explains how demanding – and successful – their work has been, emphasising their “outstanding leadership and managerial input” in the context of safely managing “some of the most challenging, disruptive and dangerous men within the Prison Estate”, adding that the ultimate purpose is “to engage [these offenders] in meaningful work to identify barriers to progression and to facilitate transfer to onward treatment settings such as personality disorder units, mental health settings, violence reduction sites or a return to main prison location.”

Fiona notes that “the success in how Ian and Emma go about their duties is evident by the fact that since opening in December 2013 there have been no incidents of violence against staff, no incidents of violence against other prisoners and no incidents of self harm. As violent behavior to self and others is a major contributory factor for selection into CSC, the significance of this should not be underestimated. Moreover, since the opening of the Unit, the team have successfully enabled a number of important progressive transfers which is a clear sign of the success of this innovative CSC which is still in its relative infancy.” And while “the introduction of the new unit has not been without its challenges”, Fiona says “their commitment, conscientious approach and unwavering belief in the ethos of the unit has been resolute and deserving of recognition.”

Local Butler Trust Champion Janice Yarham is Full Sutton’s People Hub Manager, and gives more background: “In addition to their direct role within the CSC, Ian and Emma are responsible for Rule 46 prisoners who are located within Full Sutton’s Segregation Unit… This particular CSC has developed and adopted a psychologically informed regime offering a comprehensive risk management programme of psychosocial work alongside a range of activities to address educational, occupational and health (mental and physical) needs… This psychosocial regime balances security and clinical practice, both essential elements in the management of CSC prisoners and work towards appropriate progression pathways.”

Describing their “palpable pride in the work they undertake” Janice reports that “the success of the culture created at Full Sutton CSC has resulted in the team being awarded the Team of the Year for Custodial Care at the recent High Security Prison Officer Of The Year (POOTY) awards” adding that “a recent HMIP thematic inspection highlighted the clinical approach adopted as innovative and best practice.” Further, “requests have also been received from other establishments for Ian and Emma to share what is now regarded as best practice via the co-delivery of rehabilitative bursts.”

Mick Burns of NHS England and Neil Piggin of NOMS wrote that “as Co-Commissioners from the Offender Personality Disorder Team, we have been involved with the Full Sutton CSC Project since it went live. We have visited the service quarterly and have spent time speaking with both the staff and men resident on each occasion. We have used these opportunities to meet with the prison and NHS team to review service performance. On these occasions we have been struck with how cohesive the delivery of the service is between partner agencies, and with the passion and commitment of the senior team to the ethos and delivery of the new psychosocial model.”

They add that “we have been equally impressed with the warm welcome given to us by staff in the service and have witnessed their thoughtful, psychologically informed approach to managing the men within this service. The men have told us that, whilst the approach used initially felt strange, they welcome the transparent way the service operates: some of the men have indicated that for the first time they can ‘see the light at the end of the tunnel’ and a way for them to progress. We feel the progress demonstrated in the first 12 months of operation is remarkable.”

Georgina Vince, Principal Psychologist and CSC Clinical Lead, calls the CSC Unit at Full Sutton “an innovative and progressive psychologically informed unit for the most challenging and disruptive individuals in the prison service”, adding that it has “yielded some very promising outcomes in terms of frequency of violence and disruptive behaviour and active engagement in treatment [while] HMCIP feedback is also very good.”

Julie Luther OBE, HSE/PD Lead Psychologist, wrote to say this “complex and challenging population” all too often “become stuck within the wider CSC, or indeed segregation Units across the High Security Estate” and praised the Full Sutton’s team’s enthusiasm and tenacity “even in the face of adversity”, adding that “if replicated” their approach would make “the wider CSC system more rehabilitative and, indeed more progressive.” Julie explains that this innovative framework “seeks to assess and identify ONLY the difficulties and risk associated with the prisoners that lead them into CSC; it then moves to identifying a strategic, yet realistic, pathway to address these specific risks, and progress the prisoner back onto main location, where he can access more relevant and appropriate interventions for his wider areas of risk.” She says it “allows the prisoner better ‘hope’ for progression” and believes “the success of this unit has in no doubt been due its staff, who from the outset clearly believed in the initiative, and were dedicated to providing Hope and Progression to a population of prisoners who were lacking in both.”

Governor Ed Cornmell says the CSC “would not have been as successful without [Emma and Ian]” and that their “skills have been harvested by the High Security Estate (HSE) to both develop other Closed Supervision Centres as well as to promote a wider rehabilitative culture in the entire estate.” He quotes HM Chief Inspector of Prisons following a thematic report of the CSC system. “The regime at Full Sutton was full and provided prisoners with structure and choice, which improved their participation… They recognised the good practice of the unit, as do I.”

Research is ongoing, but early results are extremely impressive:

“Since opening in 2013 the CSC Unit at HMP Full Sutton has:

a) had no incidents of self harm
b) had only one incident of minor violence (wherein one prisoner had a fight with another)
c) had only four adjudications
d) successfully introduced the Motivation and Engagement treatment module to a complex and challenging population”

Other prisoners have progressed into further programmes and treatment. Their results, explains Ian, “are previously unheard of within the CSC Estate, with the impact on effective prisoner management, public protection (both in custody and in the community) and the wellbeing of staff not to be underestimated.”

They also report “high levels of job satisfaction and wellbeing, which is further reflected in low sickness absence and staff rotation rates. There is also a healthy appetite from those working in other areas of the prison to come and work at the unit should vacancies become available.”

Looking ahead, the hope is that “the model developed and delivered at HMP Full Sutton CSC will be rolled out across the CSC Estate and more broadly into other small units, such as segregation units.”

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