HM Prison Altcourse
|Security class||Category B Adult Male & Young Offenders Institution|
|Capacity||1324 (October 2016)|
Altcourse Prison was opened in December 1997, being the first privately designed, constructed, managed and financed prison in the United Kingdom. While early reports about the management of the prison were favourable, the financing of the project drew criticism after it emerged that former owner GSL had managed to make a £10 million windfall from the contracts. In 2005 it was reported that Altcourse was the most overcrowded prison in England with 1,324 inmates, with overcrowding being an issue at the prison ever since.
In November 2009, the prison's own Independent Monitoring Board published a report which criticised the amount of illegal drugs that were being smuggled into Altcourse. The report suggested that mobile phones (which were also being smuggled into the jail) were helping to fuel the trade. A month later, it emerged that inmates at Altcourse were being given access to satellite television as a reward for good behaviour.
The prison today
Altcourse is a Category B local prison, receiving prisoners from the courts in Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. The prison accepts young offenders and adult male prisoners who are both sentenced and remanded by the courts. Accommodation at the prison comprises six accommodation units, a First Night Centre, three Vocational Training residential units and the Healthcare Centre. The prison offers full-time education and night classes to inmates as well as workshops and offender management programmes.
- Ministry of Justice pages on HMP Altcourse
- Official site
- HMP Altcourse - HM Inspectorate of Prisons Reports