IT has been a good start for HMP Hewell in Tardebigge, which was established a year ago, after the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) gave it a positive first report.

The IMB, which is appointed by the Department of Justice to satisfy itself that the prisoners receive humane and just treatment and that they are adequately prepared for release, has produced its annual report for the Secretary of State.

The short report into HMP Hewell covers the first five months of the prison’s existence and the board has taken into account the fact that, despite the cluster exercise and planning that took place between the announcement of the prison’s formation and its opening, many policies and protocols could only be produced and implemented after it began operating.

The report said: “Whilst it has been an exceptionally busy and complex period for staff, the board considers that the treatment of prisoners has been humane and just and in accordance with Prison Service rules and procedures.

“The board is satisfied that all issues raised with the governor have been investigated and addressed.” HMP Hewell is a men’s prison holding 1431 prisoners. It was established on June 25, 2008, as a result of the clustering of three adjacent prisons: HMP Blakenhurst, a Category B local prison, HMP Brockhill, a Category C training prison, and HMP Hewell Grange, a Category D open prison. The prison has eight residential units, referred to as houseblocks. The different category prisoners are kept in three separate buildings.