HM Prison Wealstun
|Location||Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire|
|Security class||Adult Male/Category C&D|
|Population||832 (as of July 2011)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
|Website||Wealstun at justice.gov.uk|
Wealstun Prison was formed from the almagamation of HMP Thorp Arch and HMP Rudgate on 1 April 1995 ; both built in 1965, on the site of ROF Thorp Arch). The amalgamation of two neighbouring establishments was an historic development for the Prison Service, and had the effect of creating a category C closed side and category D open side within one establishment. A great deal of building development has taken place at the prison in recent years, and has recently been completed..
In June 2003, 20 prisoners were involved in a rooftop protest at Wealstun Prison. The inmates smashed windows and climbed up drainpipes and ledges to the roof of the jail. After 19 hours some of the prisoners came down from the roof, but some of the inmates lasted 30 hours on the roof before surrendering peacefully.
In February 2004, an inspection report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons criticised Wealstun Prison for being mouldy, damp and infested with rats. The report made 135 recommendations for improvements at the jail, and stated that in parts of the prison there was no alarm system, basic repairs had been neglected and windows were smashed or missing. However following a more recent inspection, HMP Wealstun was highly praised for the work undertaken there.
In 2008 due to Category C overcrowding problems in the prison service, HMP Wealstun was re-rolled from a Category C/D prison to a wholly Category C prison and as a result the open side of the prison closed, and was converted to provide additional category C accommodation. The new Category C area commenced operation in April 2010.
In August 2010, an unannounced full inspection of the prison by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons stated that Wealstun "is clearly slipping backwards. The deterioration in safety is the most obvious example but there is a disturbing sense of lack of grip in other areas too. The issues identified in this report need to be addressed quickly and effectively to prevent them from becoming even more serious." The report also made numerous recommendations.
The prison today
Accommodation at Wealstun includes 15 double-occupancy cells on B Wing. The remainder of the Category C cells are single-occupancy covering 10 wings (A - J Wing).
Wealstun offers education, workshops, training courses, farms and gardens and a works department. The prison has a Listener Scheme (supported by the Samaritans and prison officers) and a Community Integration Unit and work out scheme. Wealstun is served by Leeds North East Primary Care Trust, with a part-time medical officer and an on-call facility. HMP Wealstun also has extensive services and provisions in place to help with resettlement and reducing reoffending.
Wealstun has a Visitors Centre for use on visiting days, and a modern visiting room is in operation, which has play area facilities and a refreshment counter where food may be purchased.
HMP Wealstun opened fully as a category C establishment in April 2010 after the security building work was completed on the conversion of the category D part of the prison.
Notable former inmates
- "Prison rooftop protest ends". BBC News (BBC). 4 June 2003. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- "Prison's drugs and rat problems". BBC News (BBC). 25 February 2004. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/news/hmp-wealstun-pn-2012.pdf[dead link]
- "Tycoon's rape parole denied". BBC News (BBC). 14 April 1999. Retrieved 2009-02-09.