HM Prison Northallerton
|Location||Northallerton, North Yorkshire|
|Security class||Young Offenders Institution|
|Population||252 (as of December 2007)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
|Website||Northallerton at justice.gov.uk|
HM Prison Northallerton was a prison in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England. It operated from 1788 until December 2013. During that time, it variously housed male and female adult prisoners, women with children, youth offenders, and military prisoners. Latterly Her Majesty's Prison Service struggled to keep the old prison operating to modern standards, and citing the costs of doing so and the relatively small size of the institution, it closed the prison in 2013. The prison was bought by Hambleton District Council, which plans to redevelop the site.
In 1783, the Justices of the North Riding of Yorkshire decided to close the existing house of correction in Thirsk and replace it with a larger custom-built facility in nearby Northallerton. The Diocese of Durham donated an area of marshland east of the town's High Street. Prolific Yorkshire architect and engineer John Carr was engaged to design the new prison - Carr designed a quadrangle of four buildings, although at first only one was constructed. This initial jail (which cost 3,411 pounds 3 shillings and 11 pence) opened in 1788. The building had twelve cells for men and five for women (although a number of prisoners slept in each cell). A courthouse was added on the north side in 1800 - it was connected to the jail by a tunnel. When James Neild visited the prison (then called Northallerton Bridewell) in September 1802 it held 15 prisoners.
The prison's female wing was built on the quadrangle's east side in 1818, and the prison Governor's house and two further wings were added in the 1820s. Treadmills were installed in the 1820s; at one time Northallerton had the largest treadmill in the world. Two new wings, both three-storey, were built in the early 1850s.
The prison was closed in 1922 and the premises mothballed. On the outbreak of World War II it was transferred to the British Army for use as a storage depot and later a training facility for Royal Military Police officers. In 1943 the army began using the site as a "glasshouse", a military prison. In 1946 some prisoners, aggrieved that the end of the war had not let to the remission of their sentences, rioted, damaging the cell block and throwing roof slates into the street.
The courthouse, which had been superseded by a modern building on Racecourse Lane, was demolished in 1989.
In May 2003, a report by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons commended Northallerton Prison for its improvement. Previously inspection reports had highlighted problems with bullying, poor sanitation and lack of exercise facilities at the jail. The report noted improvements in these areas but called on Northallerton to do more to help resettle offenders in the community. However, a further inspection report in April 2006 found that some shared cells at Northallerton were unhygienic and unfit for purpose. The report also raised concerns over the insufficient education and work opportunities for inmates at the prison. The cells in the two main wings were unusually small, and housed two inmates in bunk beds per cell. Each cell contained an unscreened toilet, and inmates were required to eat all their meals in their cells. Local magistrate John Bacon described these arrangements as "a disgrace".
Before closure, the regime at Northallerton revolved mainly around the education and physical education departments and preparation for release via employment search. Northallerton had a Level 2 Health Care Centre with no in-patient facilities. There was a daily doctor's surgery and a weekly dental facility, and also a consultant psychiatric service.
In April 2015 the 3.4-acre (1.4-hectare) prison site and its buildings were bought by Hambleton District Council for £1.4 million. The site is now part of a masterplan for Northallerton which includes the development of new homes, shops, leisure and education facilities. During July 2015, the council ran public tours of the prison site. Demolition began in October 2016, and is expected to take six months. Of more than a dozen buildings on the prison site, five are listed buildings — these will be retained.
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1418378)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- James Neild (1805). "Remarks on Prisons in Yorkshire". The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle. p. 790. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
- "Northallerton Prison's bleak exterior belies its rich history". Northern Echo. 5 September 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Prison wins official praise". bbc.co.uk. 1 May 2003. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
- "Offenders living in unfit cells". bbc.co.uk. 19 April 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
- Betsy Everet (26 July 2013). "Jail's just not a soft option, says Kay". Darlington and Stockton Times. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Andy Walker (12 January 2009). "'Inhumane' conditions in jail branded disgrace". Northern Echo.
- "BBC News - Closure of Northallerton prison a 'disaster' for town". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "BBC News - No decision made on future of Northallerton prison site". Bbc.co.uk. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- Joseph Keith (5 June 2015). "Council splashes £1.4m on former HM Prison Northallerton". Ripon Gazette. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "BBC News - Northallerton Prison could become shops after Hambleton Council purchase". BBC News.
- "Northallerton's former prison to open for tours". BBC News.
- "Work Begins On Demolishing A Former Northallerton Prison". Star Radio North East. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1418864)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Northallerton Prison.|
- "Northallerton 'Glasshouse' Riot", British Movietone News, 1945 (Associated Press/Movietone YouTube channel)
- Aerial view of Northallerton Prison, October 1968 - Northern Echo "From the archive - Northallerton"