Dartmoor prison needs your help to get the inside story
AFTER the Government announced plans to close a number of prisons, an appeal has gone out for volunteers to help inmates at Dartmoor.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at HMP Dartmoor – which is set to remain open – hopes to recruit new members from all walks of life, living within 20 miles or so of the prison.
Independent Monitoring Board members are appointed by the Ministry of Justice to monitor day-to-day prison life to ensure that prisoners are treated with fairness and justice.
They have full access to the prison at any time, and can talk freely and confidentially to any prisoner. The IMB said a typical monitoring visit might include the prison wings, kitchens, workshops, classrooms and healthcare centre.
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Board members also see prisoners who have asked for help from the IMB in resolving specific problems.
If there is a serious incident at the prison, members attend to monitor the way the incident is managed. The IMB for Dartmoor prison meets monthly to share information, monitor trends and raise issues.
The Governor attends part of the meeting to answer questions. The Board also writes an annual report for the Minister of Justice and HMP Dartmoor's latest IMB Annual Report has just been published.
The Board said that while it is seeking volunteers from the widest field possible, applications from younger people, women, and those from black and ethnic minority communities were particularly welcomed as these were under-represented on the current Board.
Although unpaid, reasonable expenses will be provided.
A spokesperson for Dartmoor IMB said: "Successful applicants will be those who are good listeners, enthusiastic and non-judgmental. They will need to be good communicators verbally and on paper, computer literate – or willing to learn – able to work in a team and to relate effectively with prisoners, prison officers and civilian staff. They will need to be able to come to the prison for an average six half days a month".
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To find out more about the IMB visit www.justice.gov.uk/about/imb and for information about HMP Dartmoor visit www.dartmoor-prison.co.uk.