HM Prison Whitemoor
|Security class||Adult Male/Category A|
|Population||452 (as of October 2010)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
|Website||Whitemoor at justice.gov.uk|
Whitemoor Prison was built on the site of an old railway marshalling yard and was opened in 1991 by Norma Major. In September 1994 while under the governorship of Brodie Clark, six prisoners including London Gangster Andy Russell, Paul Magee and other IRA members, escaped from the prison's Special Secure Unit after smuggling a gun into the prison. All were later recaptured.
In April 2005, it was alleged that a wind turbine situated near Whitemoor Prison was being switched off in the early mornings because the flickering shadows it created annoyed inmates. The turbine had been halted because of possible security problems if prisoners became upset over the flickering shadows.
In August 2005, the prison was locked down for two days following an explosion in a wing. A full search was carried after the firework-like blast, however it caused no damage to the prison.
In June 2006, an inspection report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons criticised staff at Whitemoor Prison for ignoring prisoners, and not responding to their queries and requests for help promptly enough. The report also criticised the prison's healthcare provision and pharmacy, as well stating that black and Asian prisoners felt subtle discrimination against them. However, the report did praise Whitemoor's specialist units - such as the dangerous and severe personality disorders wing - which were said to be performing well.
A further inspection report stated, in October 2008, that staff at Whitemoor Prison felt fear that Muslim inmates were attempting to radicalise others held at the jail. According to inspectors, officers tended to treat Muslim prisoners as extremists and potential security risks, even though only eight of them had been convicted of terrorist offences.
The prison today
Whitemoor houses around 500 of the most dangerous prisoners in the UK. The prison has a Dangerous Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) unit and a Close Supervision Centre (CSC). The centre is a prison inside the prison. Whitemoor does not accept any prisoners who are serving less than 4 years.
The regime includes vocational training courses in the construction industry and furniture craft, and production workshops involve recycling work and a laundry. The prison offers full-time, half-time and part-time education courses including basic skills, GCSEs, Level 3 Access to Higher Education, and Open University courses.
The Healthcare Centre includes a nine bed in-patients' facility. The centre employs a full-time doctor and provides twenty-four hour nursing services. Out of hours medical cover is provided by an on-call service. Other facilities include a gymnasium and prison shop.
- "Turbine shadows 'upset prisoners'". bbc.co.uk. 8 April 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
- "Jail locked down after explosion". bbc.co.uk. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
- "Prison staff 'watched daytime TV'". bbc.co.uk. 27 June 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
- "Staff 'fears' over Muslim inmates". bbc.co.uk. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
- "HMP Whitemoor Prison Information". ww.justice.gov.uk.
- grid reference TL410995
- Ministry of Justice pages on Whitemoor
- Rose, David. "HMP Islam: Inside Whitemoor prison." Daily Mail. 18 October 2008.