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Coping with Covid: Stocken’s story

HMP Stocken

The lockdown at HMP Stocken hasn’t been easy. The staff and residents have pulled together by doing charity work, forums, bacon sandwich Friday’s, competitions and even a book club. This aside, there has been some dark times for the residents and staff.

There have been some low times where staff have needed that extra support and residents have not been able to contact their family or see their family as much as they could. However, the safety team, care team, mental health ally’s, TRIM team, counsellors, listeners and more have all worked hard to support and care for one another.

A week for the Covid team

The Covid team arrive at the establishment every day at 06:45. They stock up the blue paper towels and the soap dispenser for the outside sinks. They set up a table with individually packed surgical masks labelled up with shift timings and also get the staff tests ready to hand out. Once all the staff are on duty they plan their day and throughout the week they will:

  • conduct keyworker sessions on all shielding men
  • pack 4800 surgical masks in to individual bags
  • conduct community award checks, which is a level of assurance for the residential unit, from Covid compliance to cell decency
  • complete day 0 and day 5 tests on new receptions
  • collect in staff tests ready to be logged
  • empty all the clinical waste bins for staff PPE
  • pack grab bags for escort and visits staff
  • manage any men on the protective isolation unit

Keeping the virus at bay

In March Stocken had sinks and temperature checking machines installed to try and control transmission of Covid. Throughout the year they have developed their defences of Covid by taking part in the Southampton University testing research. A large amount of staff and residents took part with zero positive results.

Masks and testing

Masks became mandatory for all staff and all residents have to wear them when leaving their residential unit. This was a huge task that was only possible with co-operation of the unions, hardworking staff and residents who have all worked as a community to fight Covid.

Stocken then became one of the first prisons to introduce routine staff testing and reception testing for residents. The staff testing is working really well and each week further staff are signing up. The Covid team have taken charge of the reception testing in conjunction with RCU staff to ensure they are able to pick up any transmission in to the establishment from arrival.

Emerging stronger

Stocken as a community are continuing to work through this and will come out stronger at the end. They know that if they can beat Covid the possibilities for Stocken will be endless and look forward to what the future brings.

Published on: 17 February 2021

Author: Michelle Gilbody, Directorate of Safety and Rehabilitation, International Team