Welcome to HMP Northumberland, a prison privately operated by Sodexo.
I have worked at HMP Northumberland since May 2016 when I took up post as Deputy Director, becoming Director in April 2019.
I am proud to work for Sodexo, a company who live by strong values around service spirit, team spirit and the spirit of progress. In the years since I have become part of this fantastic prison, I have seen evidence of all three spirits in bountiful supply.
My staff, and the partners with whom we work closely and collaborate, all work at HMP Northumberland because we have an important role to serve the needs of the court in keeping prisoners in secure custody. But our roles are far broader than this and we understand that we are here to serve the needs of the prisoners in our community, and help serve their families and loved ones by helping every person become a better individual who can successfully resettle upon release and lead positive lives in our communities.
My role also, and that of my senior team, is to serve the needs of our staff teams – helping them fulfil their career aspirations and meet our overarching objective to change lives for the better. This is at our core and we try our very best in delivering this Sodexo spirit every day.
Every person living or working at HMP Northumberland is a crucial part of a team and their role within that team has the power to change lives. Sodexo staff are proud to demonstrate behaviours that are positive and engaging, helping our prisoners flourish and grow during this period in their lives. Whether our staff work on a residential unit, a workshop, the kitchen or in our facilities management department, we all contribute to this single objective.
Our partners are numerous, delivering education, careers advice, health services, drug services, resident councils and pastoral / religious support to name but a few. Together we work in tandem, sharing information, enabling personal growth and seeing the potential in everyone.
Prisoners play a pivotal role in their teams, both helping other prisoners and supporting staff also. Prisoners can be peer supporters delivering face to face interventions and guidance, enlisting feedback from the wider population so decisions can be made regarding improvements and new initiatives. Our kitchen would not be able to deliver food to 1348 prisoners three times a day were it not for our prisoner workforce, for example. Some prisoners provide informal support to one another, and helping those in crisis.
We all have a part to play.
Spirit of Progress
Since 2016 I have seen the development and evolution of HMP Northumberland where we have gained confidence and expertise in a myriad of different ways. Operationally we seek to maintain a stable, settled environment which encourages our population to change and grow during their time here.
My staff have worked tirelessly in leading our decency agenda, making sure our residential units are clean, well furnished and conducive to positive living.
We have taken a tough stance on challenging poor behaviours, encouraging a community environment where prisoners should feel safe from harm and able to make the changes needed for their onward journey beyond the prison walls.
We may not get everything right, all of the time, but our commitment to progress means that we are keen to review our mistakes and try again, and harder next time to get it right. With the help of our resident population in our ventures I am certain we can continue to progress and make HMP Northumberland the best prison of its kind.
Please feel free to let me know if you have any observations on our prison and how we manage it. We are passionate experts in our field and strive to be better every day.