The HMP Exeter Action Plan, which the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke called for following a damning inspection in May this year, has been published.
The HMCIP stated that prisoner safety, living conditions and the prevalence of drugs made him rate the prison as its lowest rating, "poor", and prompted the Urgent Notification (UN) process.
The action plan included a review of the Drug Supply & Reduction Strategy, stating that by March 2019: "This strategy will ensure that every department contributes to the prevention of drug use. It will include the role of key work, incentivise targets, engagement in regime and promotion of drug services. Progress will be reviewed at the monthly Senior Management Meetings and Drug Strategy meetings."
The report also found that its recommendation to allow prisoners to spend more time out of their cells so they could have to access to the prison's facilities had only been partly met, adding: "HMP Exeter would require additional funding to achieve more time unlocked, and HMPPS is not in a financial position to increase Exeter’s budget."
Commenting, Mark Day, Head of Policy and Communications at the Prison Reform Trust, said: “The government's response to the Chief Inspector's urgent notification promised central support for an updated safety strategy and efforts to improve living conditions. Missing was any proposal to address one of the key factors underlying the appalling standards of safety and decency at Exeter and many other local prisons up and down the country – their chronic levels of overcrowding.
"A presumption against short sentences and curbs on the unnecessary use of recall and remand would help bring down numbers in local establishments to sustainable levels and enable them to focus on improving treatment and conditions for the longer term.”