HM Prison Albany
|Location||Newport, Isle of Wight|
|Security class||Adult Male/Category B|
|Population||566 (as of April 2008)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
|Website||Isle of Wight – Albany Barracks at justice.gov.uk|
Albany was designed and built as a Category C Training Prison in the early 1960s occupying the site of a former military barracks. Soon after opening in 1967, a decision was taken to upgrade Albany to a Category B prison and, in 1970, Albany became part of the dispersal system. It suffered major disturbances in 1972 which closed most of the Prison for over a year.
In 1992, Albany was redesignated as a Category B Closed Training Prison. In January 1998 Albany changed from being half Vulnerable Prisoner Unit and half Normal Location, and is now exclusively used to house sex offenders and vulnerable prisoners. Albany also operates as an Assessment Centre for the core Sex Offender Treatment Programme.
In August 2001 spikes (designed to stop birds perching) had to be removed from the exterior of Albany Prison after it was discovered that some of the spikes were coming loose. Prison Officers feared that inmates could use the spikes as a weapon against them.
In May 2006 up to 60 prisoners at Albany Prison issued writs demanding compensation from the Home Office. The inmates demanded compensation because they were prevented from using the lavatory when security checks were being carried out.
In March 2006 the kitchen providing meals to inmates at Albany prison was awarded a five-star rating for kitchen hygiene by the environmental health department of the Isle of Wight Council. The inspection of kitchens at 1,900 premises on the Isle of Wight, including schools, church halls, cafes and restaurants found Albany to have a top rating in standards of food preparation, ahead of establishments such as the Royal Yacht Squadron club.
In October 2008, it was announced that the name Albany could be lost, along with the two other prison names, Parkhurst and Camphill. The three would become part of one large prison run by a single governor. New names for the larger single prison have been suggested as HMP Solent, HMP Mountbatten and HMP Vectis. HMP Isle of Wight was later selected as the new name for the super prison incorporating all three island prisons.
In May 2010 a man dressed as Snoopy and an accomplice attempted to enter the Albany site, trying to free a prisoner. The pistol the costumed man carried was a water gun. The person the men were trying to free was located in the Camp Hill unit.
The prison today
Albany holds Category B/C sex offenders and vulnerable prisoners. Accommodation at Albany Prison comprises five wings (A to E wings), as well as a separate induction unit and segregation unit. All wings are identical and hold prisoners in single cells with in-cell but no toilet or sink. On each landing there are communal recesses housing toilets and wash basins. There are also payphones on each wing, and one TV room within each wing. There are also two Category C units consisting of single cells with en-suite facilities and communal activity areas inside and outside.
The Isle of Wight College provides education at Albany Prison. A range of courses are available including Basic and Key Skills, Art and Craft, Information Technology, Food Hygiene, Business Studies, as well Open University Courses. There are also vocational training programmes in: Bricklaying, Painting and Decorating, Horticulture, Industrial Cleaning, Woodwork and Tailoring. The prisons gym department also provides physical education courses as well as recreational gym. Additional sports facilities include a sportsfield, running track, 3 badminton courts and a weights area.
- "Prison removes 'anti-pigeon' spikes". BBC News. 15 August 2001. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- Ford, Richard (17 May 2006). "Sex Offenders sue Home Office". The Times (London). Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- Payne, Stewart (26 March 2007). "The prison kitchen that beat yacht club". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- "Isle of Wight County Press – "Parkhurst name set to disappear"". www.iwcp.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- "Isle of Wight County Press – "Prisons to become HMP Isle of Wight"". www.iwcp.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
- Blake, Heidi. "Man dressed as Snoopy in 'worst attempted jail-break ever'." The Daily Telegraph. 10 May 2010. Retrieved on 13 July 2010.