AMIMB works to maximise the effectiveness of its members by providing:
- encouragement in the robust and efficient performance of their duties
- training support
- best practice advice on the treatment of prisoners and the administration of prison
- information on relevant developments in penal affairs
- support for members who seek advice in times of difficulty
AMIMB also helps to enhance public awareness of the work of Independent Monitoring Boards for members.
Associate membership is open to anyone interested in penal affairs.
IMB members come from all walks of life and diversity is encouraged so that Boards truly represent society. Anyone over the age of 18 may apply to become a member of an Independent Monitoring Board.
This is a voluntary role, a public office and and members are appointed by the Home Office
The whole focus of the role is monitoring the establishment and the system to ensure that prisoners are treated fairly and with respect. Within this IMBs would inspect all aspects including the provision of healthcare, education, residential facilities and most importantly, the resettlement programmes which should adequately prepare people for release back into the community. Facilities for maintaining family ties are looked on as a priority.
Dealing with requests and complaints from prisoners is a priority task for IMB members. This can be done out of sight or hearing of staff.
Inspection visits are undertaken on a rota basis. Sometimes these are carried out at weekends and evenings.
There is a monthly IMB meeting which is attended by a member of the Senior Management Team. Members also observe a range of committees concerned with issues such as Suicide Prevention, Drug Strategy and Resettlement.
Each Board makes an annual report to the Secretary of State on how well the prison has met the standards and requirements placed on it and what impact these have on those in custody.
Any issues which cannot be resolved within the establishment or with area manager may be brought to the attention of the Minister.
All travel expenses are paid and in some cases there may be an allowance for childcare or for loss of earnings.
The amount of time a volunteer commits depends on the type of establishment. High security establishments are likely to be more demanding than an open prison. This could take from a couple of half days a month to a few days. Inspection visits are unannounced and can be at any time.
This is a public office and employers are required to give IMB volunteers a reasonable amount of time off to carry out the job.
Training is ongoing and held in house, regionally or nationally. Accommodation is provided for residential courses and for the Annual Conference which is over two nights and three days.
Find out more about becoming an Independent Monitoring Board in this short video