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Nearly half of inmates serving terms of four years or more

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THE Guernsey Prison annual report has shown that almost half of prisoners are serving sentences of four years or more.

Prison governor Dave Matthews on one of the wings at Guernsey Prison. Mr Matthews, speaking in the institution’s annual report, reported on what he saw as another good year for the prison. (21719128)

In his foreword to the report, governor David Matthews said the overall trend showed that the prison was holding prisoners for longer periods due to longer sentences.

‘The current profile shows 48% of the sentenced population are serving sentences of four years or more.

‘There were 11 individuals are serving over 10 years, including two life sentence prisoners.’

The prison received 38 prisoners serving less than six months over the course of 2017, 22 of these were serving less than three months.

At the end of 2017, only two prisoners were serving under three months and four under six months.

There were three immigration detainees and one prisoner held until a fine was paid.

‘The prison population is constantly changing. Last year we had an average of 91 prisoners with 146 new prisoners (sentenced and remanded) admitted during the year and 134 discharged, having completed their sentence,’ added Mr Matthews.

‘The prison works in close partnership with the Probation Service and Law Enforcement teams; this collaborative approach ensures that the work of the prison is extended into other services within Home Affairs.’

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Mr Matthews said he was very pleased to report on what had been another good year for the institution.

‘The prison’s development and progression in terms of its two main objectives – protecting the public and reducing re-offending – has been very good.

‘The completion of the security upgrade and continuing downward trend in prison numbers are evidence of this.’

However, he said the prison was not exempt from efficiency targets.

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‘2018 will present new challenges in continuous improvement, set against diminishing budgets.

‘I am confident that Guernsey Prison will rise to these challenges and find more innovative ways to deliver our service in a more efficient and safe way.’

The budget for the prison for 2017 was set at £5,440,300.

The cost per prisoner during 2017 based on the CNA [certified normal location – the prison’s measure of accommodation] was £40,599.

While overall statistics are relatively similar to 2017, the number of vulnerable prisoner population, predominantly sex offenders, has risen over the last few years and now represents 33% of the total population.

The annual average figure for prisoners in 2016 was 89 with the highest number reaching 103 and the lowest being 79.

The highest in 2017 was 106 and the lowest was 80.

Security upgrades included replacement CCTV cameras, fence alarms and lighting, as well as changes to the fence layout including major adjustments to allow for a more secure prisoner-working compound.

‘Work included the full replacement of old analogue cameras with the latest digital versions allowing for upgraded night time vision technology,’ the annual report said.

‘The equipment upgrade included the installation of a new security computer system which controls not only the new technology but permits connections with existing internal cameras and security equipment.

‘To mitigate current and evolving threats to prison security, technology to combat drone deliveries within the prison was sourced.

‘This has resulted in Guernsey Prison being one of the first establishments in the world to adopt Skyfence technology with a significant proportion of the equipment and installation costs for the pilot being provided by the contractor. Skyfence is activated by a drone detector system, tuned to identify drones in the proximity of the prison.

‘We are currently waiting for the UK Government to extend to Guernsey the Prisons Act 2012 (amended) which permits the blocking of wireless telegraphy within the prison vicinity.’

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