The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman held his third annual seminar series at the Newbold Revel Prison Service College from Wednesday 31st August to Friday 2nd September 2016.

What is the aim of the PPO’s seminar series?

This year’s series examined several of the most challenging problems faced by today’s prisons, illustrated by the investigations carried out by the PPO into prisoners’ complaints; deaths in custody from natural causes; and self-inflicted deaths.

  • Delegates are drawn from all over the prison estate: governors, senior management teams, safer custody leads, custody managers, members of the prisons and probation inspectorates, psychologists and healthcare managers.
  • It is a rare opportunity for experienced and committed professionals in the criminal justice sector to come together from all over England and Wales to share best practice, consider new ideas and discuss what the barriers to progress are and how to overcome them.
  • The Ombudsman articulates the most important lessons to be learned from his investigations;  he also listens to prison staff describe the barriers to implementing the PPO’s recommendations. Together, delegates and members of the PPO can then work together to find ways to work around those barriers.
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, complaints seminar Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, natural causes seminar Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, self-inflicted deaths seminar

Three seminars, one on each of the three days, focusing on the Ombudsman’s three main investigative functions:

Wednesday 21 August: “Complaints Investigations”

Thursday 1 September: “Investigations into deaths from natural causes”

Friday 2 September: “Investigations into self-inflicted deaths”

Download the slides for each seminar by clicking on the images above.

Who were the speakers?

In addition to presentations and case studies from his own investigators, the Ombudsman was pleased to welcome senior leaders from the National Offender Management Service to speak on each of the three days:

  • Carolyn Lund (Head of the High Security Estate) provided the NOMS policy response to PPO’s examination of property complaints – the most common and costly complaints made by prisoners by some distance.
  • Paul Baker (Deputy Director of Custody for London and the Thames Valley) spoke passionately about his own experiences of prisoners with terminal illnesses and the need to treat them with dignity and humanity.
  • Finally, NOMS’s Chief Executive Michael Spurr responded candidly to PPO’s investigators presentation of case studies involving  self-inflicted deaths related to prisoners’ mental health, the early days and weeks of custody and the profound impact of new psychoactive subtsances.

The gallery

Nigel Newcomen, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman seminars
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen CBE addresses seminar delegates.

Michael Spurr, NOMS Chief Executive, PPO seminars
NOMS Chief Executive Michael Spurr responds to PPO’s presentation on self-inflicted deaths in custody.

Paul Baker, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman seminars
Deputy Director of Custody for London and Thames Valley Paul Baker on deaths in custody from natural causes.

Delegates discuss implementing PPO recommendations on caring for prisoners dying from long-term illnesses.
Delegates discuss implementing PPO recommendations on caring for prisoners dying from long-term illnesses.

NOMS Paul Holland PPO seminars
Project leader Paul Holland sets out the latest news on NOMS’s major suicide prevention initiative.

PPO seminars complaints investigations
Seminar delegates discuss PPO’s investigations into prisoners’ complaints involving use of force by officers.