wcada carat prison service

WCADA have been delivering this service in the prisons since 2001, beginning with one staff member at HMP Swansea to what is now a team of 19 staff based across the Welsh estate.

The landscape has changed considerably during this time, with the service originally being commissioned directly by the Ministry of Justice, to the current arrangements with NOMS Cymru.

This change was welcomed due to a much greater understanding of the Welsh environment and we are pleased to announce that our Contract has been extended to March, 2016. Re-commissioning is planned for the summer of 2015.

The teams have been busy throughout the year with 2396 prisoners assessed by the CARAT teams and care plans generated to meet individual needs. Vital harm minimisation advice and information is provided to all prisoners on induction, where CARAT services are explained and referrals taken from those who wish to receive support for substance misuse issues.

Should immediate referral not be requested, staff will visit individuals 28 days later to encourage engagement, utilising motivational interviewing techniques and the ITEP Node Link Mapping System in their work.

The teams cannot work in isolation and referrals are made to other departments in the prison, such as healthcare for substitute prescribing and health needs, mental health services and learning skills to address other issues identified. Close collaborative working with Offender Management and Sentence Planning are necessary, together with building good relationships with disciplined staff that often refer to the service on behalf of the prisoners in their care.

The work in the local remands of HMP Cardiff and HMP Swansea is quite different to that delivered at HMP Prescoed and HMP Usk. The local remands ‘Cat B’ prisons have a high turnover of prisoners due to the short length of sentences and those held on remand until their cases are heard in court. The work at Prescoed ‘Cat D’ focuses on the issues facing prisoners leading up to release, many of whom will have served long sentences and Usk, a ‘Cat C’ vulnerable prisoner establishment accommodation houses a higher risk population.

Examples of the differences are that higher numbers of initial assessments are carried out in the local remands (799 at Swansea and 1347 at Cardiff) with 250 carried out at Prescoed and Usk.

Release plans are proportionate to each establishment, however, more structured sessional work is delivered at Prescoed and Usk at 981 compared with 684 at Swansea and 799 at Cardiff, whereas shorter key work sessions are completed at Cardiff and Swansea due to the rapid turnover of the population. Personal safety and security is a priority in all our work and some areas require more vigilance. Disciplined officers are a significant source of support to our staff working in the custodial estate, support that is very much valued and appreciated.

Continuity of care is crucial to providing on-going support to ensure the gains made during interventions with the CARAT teams are not lost on release. Of particular significance is close working with clinical services in the community and a good example of this is the weekly clinical meeting held at HMP Swansea involving Prison Healthcare, CARAT and IOIS staff to discuss cases and make the necessary clinical arrangements for individuals soon to be released. This has proved an extremely effective contribution to reducing concerns, particularly when there are often many other matters, such as accommodation or relationships to concentrate on leading up to release. This is where the new Community Rehabilitation Company will make its contribution towards the end of the financial year when the new provider is announced and systems are put in place for through-the-gate services.

During the year, it was identified there were 40 veterans servicing sentences in HMP Swansea and our Change Step Project has engaged with all the prisons in Wales to begin building rapport with the veterans and encouraging engagement in Change Step on release, particularly where PTSD has been identified. The veterans can receive support from this service whilst they are waiting for their treatment with the All Wales Veterans Service with the ABMU Health Board and this have proved effective in reducing the incidence of re-offending and a return to the prison estate.

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