HM Prison Gloucester
|Security class||Adult Male/Category B|
|Population||323 (as of January 2005)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
HM Prison Gloucester was a Category B men's prison located in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. The prison was operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service and closed in 2013. New similar Prisons are planned to be built in Swindon and Trowbridge.
Designed by William Blackburn, Gloucester opened as a County Gaol in 1792, and was substantially rebuilt in 1840 with flanking brick wings by Thomas Fuljames. A new young offenders wing was built at the prison in 1971. Further improvements were made in 1987, including a new gate, administration block and visits centre.
In April, 2003, Gloucester was named in a survey as "among the 20 most overcrowded jails" in the United Kingdom. The following day, the prison was the scene of a three-and-a-half-hour siege when two prisoners protested over visiting rights by barricading themselves in a cell.
A Time Bank scheme was launched at Gloucester Prison in February 2006. Inmates who joined the scheme restored bicycles in the prison workshop, and this time was credited to their friends and families who could cash it in to get help from volunteers in the community. The scheme continued at the prison until its closure.
In June 2007, the Independent Monitoring Board criticised Gloucester Prison for its overcrowding, poor dining provision and cramped cells. A month later over 100 prisoners had to be moved to other jails after severe flooding across the Gloucestershire area submerged the ground floor of the prison and interfered with its water supplies.
In August 2007, the prison was criticised by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons after an inspection report found the levels of organised activities for inmates at Gloucester (such as training and education) were "woeful". The report also stated that one wing of the prison should be refurbished. However the prison was described as "very positive" overall because of good management.
On 10 January 2013, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that the prison was one of seven in England to close. The prison formally closed on 31 March 2013. The site of the prison is due to be redeveloped, however there are a number of executed criminals buried in unmarked graves under the prison. It was reported in April 2013 that the Malmaison hotel chain have expressed an interest in converting the site into a hotel, while an alternative proposal would see a prison museum with ghost tours housed at the former jail. In March the site was formally put up for sale, with an expectation that at least part of the site will be for housing.
On 24 December 2014, it was announced that Gloucester Prison along with Dorchester Prison, Kingston Prison and Shepton Mallet Prison had been sold to City and Country. There will be a community consultation on the development of all the sites, with plans including mixed-used schemes of assisted living units alongside retail and social amenity areas. In December 2015 it was revealed that the remains of a wall of a large Norman castle had been uncovered in the former exercise yard of the prison.
From April 2017 to October 2018, the former prison was open to the public under the Jailhouse Tours brand whilst planning permission was finalised.
Notable former inmates
- Herbert Rowse Armstrong (executed in 1922)
- Arthur Griffith Former President of Dáil Éireann ( May 1918 - March 1919 )
- Stefan Kiszko
- Peter McAleese, British soldier, prisoner during the 1970's
- Pierce McCan Irish revolutionary (died in the prison in 1919)
- Fred West (held on remand)
- "UK | England | Three-hour siege at prison ends". BBC News. 3 April 2003. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- "UK | England | Gloucestershire | Inmates swap time for family help". BBC News. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- "UK | England | Gloucestershire | Prison conditions are criticised". BBC News. 20 June 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- "UK | England | Gloucestershire | Floods bring chaos across county". BBC News. 23 July 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- "Home". BBC News. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- "Seven prison closures in England announced". BBC News. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "BBC News - Gloucester prison closure: Criminals buried underneath". Bbc.co.uk. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- Citizen, The (11 June 2013). "Jail museum man wants to turn Gloucester Prison into ghost attraction". Gloucester Citizen. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "BBC News - Gloucester Prison site to go up for sale". BBC News. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "The sale of former prisons in west and south England is agreed". BBC News. 24 December 2014.
- "Norman castle wall found under former Gloucester prison". BBC News.
- "Public tours of Gloucester Prison have started - and anyone can go along". Gloucestershire Live.