ACTION has been taken at HMP Isle of Wight to tackle drug problems and bullying, its governor said today (Wednesday).
Responding to the inspection report published this week, James Shanley said he acknowledged some of the criticisms.
He said: "We do not underestimate the challenges that putting together three distinct prisons involve and there is recognition we still have some way to travel to fully meet expectations.
"The report points out this is a respectful prison with improvements in many areas, including staff prisoner relationships and the provision of health services. The regime has improved with longer out of cell periods and we have increased access to education, workshops and interventions.
"This year has seen a significant restraint on our budget, which reduced our staffing levels considerably. However, our staff have continued to deliver overall improvements in performance and I am very proud of them.
"We have a strategy to tackle the issue of drugs being brought into the Camp Hill site and this has resulted in an overall decrease in the availability of drugs. For the business year 2011/12 we were well below our agreed targets and currently this year we are still below the target for our mandatory drug testing. The healthcare team and security department work together and have made significant in roads in regard to prisoners trading their own medication.
"We have robust systems in place to tackle incidents of bullying and our incidents of violence are lower than all of our comparator prisons. Some prisoners have not responded well to our move to one prison and so their perceptions are of feeling unsafe, however to manage our population efficiently there will be times when we move prisoners across sites.
"We will now start work on our action plan, as well as working with the prisoners in our care to improve their perception and experiences at HMP Isle of Wight. Our partner agencies continue to work well with us and in the interests of providing a safe, decent and secure environment which will help to reduce re-offending overall."