HMP Winchester – Always an interesting visit
A busy week culminated in a planned regular visit to HMP Winchester, facilitated by Nick Pemberton, Veterans in Custody officer. Nick is an Ambassador for the charity and someone who I have been working alongside for many years.
I was greeted by friendly, polite and courteous staff who invariably welcome both myself and fellow mentors. The prison was quiet and clean, odourless with a sense of order and control. As usual, I felt safe and throughout the visit I was always in the sight line of Prison Officers.
Following an introduction, I then spent 45 minutes (approx.) with a newly arrived veteran who offered an interesting narrative re his time in the Armed Forces, subsequent transitioning and events leading up to a custodial sentence. Following an explanation, he agreed to participate in Project Phoenix. He described a range of mental health challenges, but I am pleased to report he was undergoing further clinical re- assessment by the MHT together with a review of his prescribed medication. He had been allocated a place on the remedial PT sessions group for those with mental health issues. In view of the circumstances surrounding his sentencing he had previously been interviewed by an external Consultant Psychiatrist.
We then visited several assigned veterans, one whose wife had died the week previously. The prison authorities are currently making necessary arrangements for him to attend the funeral scheduled to take place later next week.
On my walk through the prison I observed several displayed notices drawing attention to the predictable consequences in the event of using Spice.
On returning to the Main Gate I acknowledged the Imam who attends the prison twice each week; Friday for prayers and Saturday for religious studies.
Prior to departure I discussed any outstanding veterans in custody issues with Nick which forms part of the weekly visit.
HMP Winchester continues to set the benchmark for veterans in custody.