HMIP Inspection of Wayland

The prison was inspected last in April 2022.The full reports can be read at the Ministry of Justice web site, just follow the links below. In the last report the inspector said:

HMP Wayland is a category C training prison near Thetford in Norfolk that held 890 prisoners when we inspected in April this year. The remote location on an old RAF base on the edge of Thetford forest has made the recruitment of staff very difficult and at the time of the inspection there were not enough officers to run anything like a proper category C regime.

Standards of behaviour in the under-staffed prison had slipped and inspectors often saw prisoners breaking the rules without challenge or adequate supervision from officers, many of whom had only recently begun working in the jail. With experienced prisoners and inexperienced staff, there is a real risk that things could get much worse.

The new governor, who had taken over at the end of 2021, had begun to address some of the worst behaviour, sending some of the most troubled prisoners back to category B prisons and aiming to improve the support for newer officers. The staff team appreciated her visibility around the jail and her priorities were generally well understood. Much will need to be done to establish higher standards of behaviour from both prisoners and staff, some of whom we also saw vaping around the prison. To date, the focus had been on sanctions, but leaders will also need to find more positive ways to motivate prisoners to behave well.

Wayland seemed to suffer from the same post-COVID-19 inertia that has affected many of the category C prisons we have recently inspected. Workshops and classrooms were mostly empty, and prisoners were spending too much time locked in their cells. Education provision had restarted just days before our arrival although to their credit, teachers had been much more active during the lockdowns than in other jails. Inexplicable restrictions on the number of prisoners allowed into classrooms and workshops – despite prisoners being able to mix freely elsewhere, such as in the kitchens – will need to be lifted if the prison is to be able to provide education and training for more than just a lucky few.

During our inspection, leaders introduced a new regime designed to open the prison up and provide more purposeful activity, but the planning was rushed and communication had not been good enough, so that prisoners and staff did not know who was supposed to be where at what time.

The general condition of the site was poor. Cells in the older part of the jail were tired looking, many with windows that needed repair. In the newer wings, poor ventilation meant that in-cell showers had mould growing on the walls. Elsewhere, the kitchens were in an awful state and there was a gaping hole in the roof of the visits hall.

The recent designation of Wayland as a ‘black’ site for staff recruitment and retention means that it is able to pay staff more to work in the prison. We must hope that this begins to resolve the critical staffing situation, because without sufficient, high-quality officers, there is a real risk that standards of behaviour Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Wayland 4 may deteriorate further and the prison will continue to fail to live up to its category C designation.

Charlie Taylor
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
June 2022

Return to Wayland

To read the full reports visit the Ministry of Justice web site, or follow the links below:

  • Inspection report (1 MB) Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Wayland by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (11–12 and 25–28 April 2022)
  • HMP Wayland (604.05 kB), Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Wayland (19–30 June 2017)
  • HMP Wayland, Unannounced inspection of HMP Wayland (22 July – 2 August 2013)
  • HMP Wayland, Announced inspection of HMP Wayland (6–10 June 2011)
  • HMP Wayland, Unannounced short follow-up inspection of HMP Wayland (6 – 8 April 2009)