HM Prison Swaleside

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HMP Swaleside
Prisons isle of-sheppey.jpg
Prisons, Sheppey Cluster, Isle of Sheppey
Location Eastchurch, Kent
Security class Adult Male/Category B
Capacity 1112
Population 1252 (as of February 2010)
Opened 1988
Managed by HM Prison Services
Governor Sarah Coccia
Website Swaleside at

HM Prison Swaleside is a Category B men's prison, located close to the village of Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Swaleside forms part of the Sheppey prisons cluster, which also includes HMP Elmley and HMP Standford Hill. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.


Swaleside opened in 1988 with four residential wings (A-D), each holding 126 prisoners.[1] E wing, a purpose-built drug treatment unit opened in 1998, with a holding capacity of 120 prisoners. In 1999 F wing opened also designed to hold 120 prisoners.[2] A further two wings were added, G wing in 2009 and H wing in 2010, each with a 179 holding capacity. The prison also has a 25 bed segregation unit and a 17 bed inpatient health care unit.[1]

In August 2002, an investigation was launched into a major disturbance at Swaleside Prison. The aggression of an inmate locked in his cell was the catalyst, with some prisoners in the same wing refusing to return to their cells and demanding money and a helicopter.[3]

In April 2006, a prison officer from Swaleside was jailed for two years, after he tried to smuggle cannabis into the prison. The officer (who is the son of a prison governor) had been discovered as he reported for his shift during a routine search.[4]

Two months later, an inspection report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons praised Swaleside Prison for its "greatly improved living conditions and atmosphere."[5] The report also stated that relations between staff and prisoners were good and security was well-managed. However the prison was told to increase employment places and training programmes for prisoners, as well as improve anti-bullying and race relations strategies.[5]

A further inspection report in September 2008, again praised Swaleside for being a safe prison with good staff-prisoner relations. The report also highlighted improvements in the prisons anti-bullying, suicide and self-harm prevention arrangements. However the report again criticised the amount of time prisoners spent in their cells, with a lack of work and training places available at the jail. The report also called for further improvements in race relations at Swaleside.[6]

In October 2014, The Prison Officers Association said a major incident had happened at the jail and a prison officer had been stabbed during a riot, Michael Rolfe told the BBC a prison officer had been injured and he said a disturbance began at the jail during the afternoon and is still ongoing.[7] The officer was taken to hospital to treat facial injuries but has since been discharged.[8]

In March 2015, a prisoner was murdered by two fellow inmates. A Kent Police spokesman said: "The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate has launched a murder investigation after a man was pronounced dead in HMP Swaleside at around 7pm on Wednesday 25 March. Two men, aged 32 and 44, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody."[9]

The prison today[edit]

Horticultural unit at HMP Swaleside

Swaleside is a Category B prison for adult males, more than half of them serving life sentences. It is a main centre prisoner for prisoners in the first stage of a life sentence.[10] The prison has a high minority ethnic population of between 30-40%, and a similar number of foreign national prisoners.

Education at the prison is provided by Canterbury College,[11] with courses ranging from basic education to Open University level. Employment activities for inmates include industrial cleaning, engineering, commercially run industries workshops, horticultural and agricultural activities.

Notable former inmates[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hardwick, Nick (2 May 2014). "HMP Swaleside fact page" (pdf). Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Swaleside. HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. p. 7. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Strategic Summary" (pdf). Integrated Drug Treatment Services. HM Prison Service. 2010. p. 2. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Investigation into prison disturbance". 29 August 2002. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  4. ^ "Prison officer in drug bid jailed". 19 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  5. ^ a b "Praise for improvements at prison". 13 June 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  6. ^ "'Too little activity' at prison". 23 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  7. ^ "Prison officer stabbed in Swaleside jail riot". BBC News. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Webb, Sam (26 March 2015). "Two arrested after prisoner 'stabbed to death' in cell at HMP Swaleside". Mirror Online. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Reception Criteria Swaleside". Inside Time. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Inside Time (January 2014). "Swaleside Prison-Education". Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "Spy out of jail". 13 May 1998. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°23′31″N 0°51′09″E / 51.3919°N 0.8526°E / 51.3919; 0.8526