HMP Thameside is a category B local prison operating a standardised core day. The regime includes a varied provision of education and internal employment opportunities. There is an award winning library facility; education department; a cardio suite, a weights room, an indoor sports hall and an outdoor football pitch.
Learning & Skill are developed through our educational services, where prisoners can achieve recognised qualifications in a variety of subjects including English, Maths, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Food Hygiene and Health & Safety. We also offer a range of practical skills training such as interview and CV skills that improve prisoner’s employment prospects.
Prisoners receive appropriate advice and support on employment, training and education from a range of partners, increasing their likelihood of successful resettlement.
Opportunities to engage in purposeful activity are available to prisoners in HMP Thameside through a variety of interventions such as:
HMP Thameside has a dedicated Faith Centre Team led by a manager and supported by full and part time chaplains from the following denominations: Roman Catholic, Anglican, Free Church and by a Muslim Chaplain (Imam). Our provision is also supported by a number of sessional chaplains including Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon and Jehovah's witness chaplains. Their main role is the pastoral care of all, regardless of faith.
The Healthcare service is covered by qualified nurses 24 hours a day and GP clinics run 6 days per week, with out of hour’s provision if required.
The service aims to:
- Advise and support patients
- Provide information on Healthcare services
- Listen to concerns, suggestions or queries
- Help sort out problems quickly
Specialist Clinics include:
- In Reach
Integrated Drug Treatment Service (IDTS) is provided in conjunction with Turning Point and a specialist unit is provided on the houseblocks for prisoners undertaking this treatment.
At HMP Thameside we provide menus that are nutritionally balanced and take into account the dietary preferences of prisoners. Prisoners can pre-select their meals from a 4-week menu cycle that is displayed in-cell on their interactive system. Prisoners are able to order their meal choices; this covers all religious, ethical, ethnic and personal needs and includes Halal, Vegetarian, Vegan and healthy option dishes (as well as medically approved special diets), via the in-cell interactive system, and if required, the menu on the in-cell system can be provided in a language other than English.
At HMP Thameside we operate a cashless prison system and provide a shopping experience for prisoners’ that enables them to buy a range of retail goods, including the purchasing of telephone call time via their in-cell interactive system. We ensure that the goods and products available to buy meet the needs of a mixed prisoner population. In addition, we will engage prisoners through the Prisoner Information and Activities Committee (PIAC) meetings in developing the shop product list.
In encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for themselves and their sentence we have provided an integrated Information Communications Technology (ICT) system. Using the Custodial Management System (CMS) provided prisoners are able to self-manage themselves and their sentence. Capabilities include:
- Menu ordering
- Canteen ordering
- Phone Credit
- Visits Booking
- General Applications
- Emailing Healthcare, Reception and Education
- Gym booking
- Applying for sentence planning advice and counselling and appointments
- Applying for work
- Making their own Healthcare appointments
Staff are able to respond electronically to requests and applications, creating an efficient and fully auditable system for prisoner applications.
In addition it offers provision of a VLE (virtual learning environment), training and information services that will enable them to develop and improve their information and communication skills. The VLE provides access to online training courses and training material with the ability to enable the prisoners to complete education courses that may provide a range of widely recognised qualifications including NVQs. Microsoft Office and or Open Office applications will be made available to the prisoners to improve basic keyboard, word processing, literacy skills. Systems may be configured with other limited language options (upon request) that may meet the requirements of a subset of foreign national prisoners.
HMP Thameside operates a cashless telephone system operated via a smart card system and Personal Identity Number (PIN). The PIN phone system includes a comprehensive voice recording system that will record and retain all prisoner voice call other than those protected by legal privilege. Prisoners may have up to 15 personal and 10 legal telephone numbers, subject to security vetting and public protection measures. Staff are also able to phone prisoners in cell but prisoners cannot receive external telephone calls.
Prisoners have the facility to make calls to key departments within the establishment such as Reception and Education, to encourage responsibility and self-management. They are also able to phone Healthcare in case of emergencies. All departments are contactable via the in cell IT system.
As a prison we have provided a comprehensive Prisoners Cash Management System that allows prisoners to handle their own savings, private spends and earning accounts via their in-cell interactive system. Prisoners have the ability to manage their shopping, phone account, savings account, make applications to send money out, receive money in by cheque, postal order or secure payments, check their wages, exchange foreign currency, payback any advances on arrival, and check their transaction history and balances in real time.
Business Services Work Parties
As part of the Business Services function, we offer prisoners opportunities to apply for positions in key jobs and work parties e.g. Kitchen, Bistro, Grounds, Waste Management and Environmental, Prison Shop, Laundry, textiles, BICS and Painting. Within each of these areas there are openings for prisoners to acquire new skills and improve on current abilities. Prisoners also have the prospect for those who wish to acquire skills and accredited qualifications.
Learning and Skills
The focus of Education at HMP Thameside is to address Functional Skills in English, Maths & ICT in order to support learners to gain the most out of life, learning & work. The tools learnt will enable them to apply their knowledge and understanding to engage competently and confidently in all education subjects, both in and outside of the prison. Most courses are accredited and include:
- Understanding Business Enterprise Activities
- Personal & Social Development
- Peer Mentoring
- Food Safety
- Health & Safety at Work
- Fitness Instructing
- Healthy Eating/ Nutrition & Exercise
- Creative Crafts / Art
- Music Technology
- Virtual Campus
- Web Design
- Imaging Software
- Open University
- Conflict Management
- Catering & Hospitality
At HMP Thameside we encouraging prisoners to prepare for their release and offer courses in life skills and:
- Preparing cover letters, writing a CV and advice on adapting it to match job vacancies
- Preparing and sending out speculative letters to companies that may require their expertise
- Practice completing application forms
- Carrying out live job searches and applying for jobs through the ‘virtual campus’
- Creating a disclosure statement and discussing the best time to disclose
- job searching
- writing a CV
- interview techniques
- college applications
- finding training opportunities
- On-site Job Fairs
The Physical Education Department comprises of four different training areas, the cardio suite, weights room, indoor sports hall and a FIFA regulation size 3G outdoor football pitch. We currently offer various activities such as: Insanity classes, circuit classes, kettlebell classes, racquet sports, basketball, volley ball and football, exercise to music and aerobics. Our staff also provides training plans tailored made to suit each individual on request. We can also offer one to one training or group training sessions. As part of the gym facility we can offer sports qualifications which allow prisoners to gain their Level 2 Fitness Instructor or study towards a Level 2 qualification in nutrition. There is also the opportunity to gain sports coaching qualifications which are sport specific through links made within the local community and are delivered by outside agencies. We offer remedial gym classes to those unable to partake in full physical activity due to illness or injury, we also offer over 45 classes and ensure all our client groups are able to participate and attend the gym regardless of ability.
We are committed to working with our partner agencies, Catch 22 and Turning Point with regards to delivering and effective and relevant Offender Management Service. All delivery will be underpinned by the Reducing Re-offending “Seven Pathways”.
Catch 22 offers several courses including a Fathers Project. This will aim to enhance peoples skills around working with young children, it will cover specific first aid issues, look to improve knowledge and awareness around child health and progression and more practical elements such as nappy changing and feeding babies. Other courses available will be Safer Communities and Behaviour Management.
Turning Point work alongside our other partner agencies in helping offenders recognise and challenge a whole range of issues around Drug and Alcohol misuse. Encouraging recognition and personal responsibility and promoting the concept that “recovery is possible” can start whilst at HMP Thameside.
We look at the whole person and have designed a range of interventions that lead to real and meaningful life changing outcomes. We have established links with our community partners to ensure the work we do is realistic and reflects the needs and resources of the communities our offenders will be released to.
Prospects – Careers Information Advice Service
Many prisoners may need help with their career, finding or changing their job and improving their skills. A CIAS adviser offers careers and skills advice to help improve job prospects. They also offer support and motivation for offenders to plan their future by linking their personal interests and skills to a job or career.
CIAS advisers will set up a face to face advice session to help men identify their pre and post release work, training or employment goals and develop their own personal action plan with the steps they need to get there. They will keep in touch with offenders in custody offering support and encouragement to help them stay on the right track. CIAS advisers will work with other providers and specialist agencies in custody and in the community to help men prepare for release.
HMP Thameside prides itself on its award winning library, where prisoners can engage in many varied activities including:
- DVLA (Driving Theory Test kit)
- Rosetta Stone (Language based course)
- Therapeutic art
- Creative writing
- Script writing
- Invite Authors into prison to visit, read and sign books
- Book Club (Prison Reading Group)
- Drama Course
- Prison Advice Service
- LBGT meeting
- Shannon trust mentor training (literacy skills)
- Legal Reference - materials and books
- Access to Newspapers, Magazines, Board games, Selection of DVD’s, CD’s and Audiobooks
The HMP Thameside Families First Team provides prisoners with the opportunity to bond and engage with their children whilst in custody. On our Families First sessions, we offer activities for you to do with your child such as reading, painting, baking activities and outdoor sport. Prisoners in HMP Thameside can apply for Families First sessions by sending an application via their in-cell system CMS to Families First.
The role of a prison officer has always been to support those in custody and help them to change their lives in prison and on release.
The focus of the key worker role is to reduce the negative effects of imprisonment. The key worker role provides the dedicated time a prison officer needs to coach, support and mentor those in custody. All prison officers carry out the key worker role as part of their normal duties and will focus specifically on providing a rehabilitative environment for prisoners by making sure they feel safe, secure and well supported.
The aim of the Key Worker scheme is to promote a rehabilitative and constructive relationships that will guide, encourage and motivate all prisoners to make the most effective use of their time when in custody.
At HMP Thameside we aim is to ensure prisoners:
Feel safe, settled and supported
Have their individual needs met
Engage positively in their rehabilitation
Are supported in their sentence progression
We strive to provide a safer environment for all who work, reside and visit HMP Thameside and believe this is paramount and at the forefront of everything we do.
FACT - Families (and Friends) At Centre of Throughcare
HMP Thameside actively encourage regular and meaningful contact between prisoners, their families and close friends, and recognised the vital part relationships play in reducing re-offending and removing the prospect of a return to custody. The Director and staff are wholly committed to supporting and maintaining the strong bond that prisoners have formed with their families and friends and see no reason why prison should become a barrier in advancing those relationships further. In addition to upholding those strong bonds, we also believe families should be actively involved in and informed on their loved one’s progress whilst they are residing at HMP Thameside.
The F.A.C.T scheme enables families and friends to meet with and maintain regular contact with a prison custody officer (Key Worker), both the prisoner and Key Worker will meet on a weekly basis to discuss issues regarding their time in prison and what efforts are being taken to plan for the remainder of their sentence and/or successful return to the community
HMP Thameside operates a Peer Mentoring Service which provides individuals with the opportunity to meet with other prisoners who have similar difficulties, this can reduce stress and may assist prisoners in finding helpful ways of coping with their situation, and offer support during their time in custody.
The Listener scheme is a peer support service which aims to reduce suicide and self-harm in prisons. Samaritans volunteers select, train and support prisoners in HMP Thameside to become Listeners. Listeners provide confidential emotional support to their fellow inmates who are struggling to cope