Bronzefield Prison

Ian Whiteside the Director (note not “Governor”) of Bronzefield Prison, very generous with his time, spent the morning explaining his approach to running the prison and showing me around. There are 570 women residents (note not “prisoners”) of whom 40% are on remand (and stay for typically two weeks) with the rest being long term residents many with complex needs. Ian’s sees his task, in addition to the normal needs of security and safety, as that of rehabilitation with a powerful ethos embedded in all the staff of treating their residents with decency and preparing them for release. A recent government white paper said “Bronzefield  leads the way  in training and qualifications”. I saw this in action with residents active in art workshops, a commercial call centre, a beauty parlour and the kitchens. Ian really believes they “are making lives better and these women will contribute to society on their release”. It was a privilege to spend this time with Ian and his staff.