Dispersal prison

A Dispersal prison is one of five secure prisons in the United Kingdom that houses Category A prisoners. The idea of the Dispersal prison was initiated after a report submitted by Earl Mountbatten in 1966 after some notorious prison escapes. It was decided that special secure units should be built to enable the allocation of Category A prisoners to them, but to also allow the prison authorities the option to 'disperse' a prisoner to one of the other units at short notice. Whilst seven secure units were intended, the actual number has fluctuated over the years with a core selection of five still remaining.[1]

HistoryEdit

During the 1960s in Britain, several notorious and high-profile prisoners escaped from jails across the United Kingdom (Charles Wilson, Ronnie Biggs and George Blake). After the sensational escape of George Blake, a report was commissioned by the government to be chaired by Earl Mountbatten.[note 1][2] The report recommended that all prisoners be categorised either A, B, C or D, according to their security risk, escape risk and danger to the general public. Category A prisoners were those deemed to be the worst and Category D prisoners were afforded the right to wander around the prison estate (within reason).[3]

Mountbatten's proposal was for one fortress-style super-prison (called HMP Vectis on the Isle of Wight) where all the prisoners could be housed together in an 'Alcatraz-style' unit; however, following the Radzinowicz Report in 1968,[note 2] it was decided to build secure units to hold the Category A prisoners at seven locations.[4] In this way, Category A prisoners could be 'dispersed' within any of the seven secure locations and the ability to move them at short notice was retained.[5] The seven secure prisons were preceded by two Special Security Wings at Durham and Leicester prisons, but the two wings were not fit for purpose as they were in pre-existing jails and adapted from existing buildings which were not as secure as a purpose-built prison would be.[6]

In early 2016, it was reported that the UK government was considering using just one unit to house all its Islamist Terrorists as per Mountbatten's original recommendation. Critics pointed out that this would lead to further radicalisation of the non-religious prison community.[1] In 2016, eight high security prisons existed across England and Wales; Belmarsh, Frankland, Full Sutton, Long Lartin, Manchester, Wakefield, Whitemoor and Woodhill.[7] Only five of these are classified as dispersal prisons; Frankland, Full Sutton, Long Lartin, Wakefield and Whitemoor[8][9][10] with Belmarsh, Manchester and Woodhill being described as 'Core Local' prisons.[11]

Arguments for and against the Dispersal system have been ongoing since first proposed by Radzinowicz in 1968. The idea of dispersal is that one prison is not overburdened with category A prisoners and the prisoners themselves can be accommodated within a larger prison population. The downside to this is that the system is expensive and that it places additional security on establishments housing Category B prisoners.[12]

The PrisonsEdit

Name Location Opened as Dispersal Notes Date ceased as Dispersal
Albany Isle of Wight 1970 Original planned location by Mountbatten for all Category A prisoners[13] 1992[14]
Belmarsh London 1991 Was a dispersal site up to 2008, has a High Security Unit (HSU) that houses Category A prisoners in segregation from the other prison population[15] so is not officially classed as a dispersal prison[16] 2008
Frankland County Durham 1983 The first purpose built Dispersal Prison and the largest in terms of inmate population (around 200 prisoners)[17]
Full Sutton North Yorkshire 1987 Purpose built high security prison, houses 600 inmates[18]
Gartree Leicestershire 1967 Gartree was changed to a Category B prison in 1992[19] 1992[20]
Hull East Yorkshire 1969 Designated in 1969, removed from the Dispersal list in 1986[21] 1986
Long Lartin Worcestershire 1971 Upgraded prison to Category A in 1973[22]
Parkhurst Isle of Wight 1966 Parkhurst ceased to be a Dispersal Prison after a prisoner escape in 1995[23][24] 1995
Wakefield West Yorkshire 1966 Designated as a Dispersal Prison in 1966; the longest serving of the original group[25]
Whitemoor Cambridgeshire 1991[26] Opened in 1991 as a purpose built Category A prison[27]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Report of the Inquiry into Prison Escapes and Security, December 1966, by The Earl Mountbatten of Burma: implementation of treatment and rehabilitation of prisoners
  2. ^ The Radzinowicz Report 1968: The Regime for Long-Term Prisoners in Conditions of Maximum Security. Report of the Advisory Council on the Penal System

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Travis, Alan (13 February 2016). "UK government considers single secure jail unit for Islamist terrorists". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "George Blake (Escape from Prison): 24 Oct 1966: House of Commons debates - TheyWorkForYou". theyworkforyou.com. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Joyce, Peter (2013). Criminal justice : an introduction (2 ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 302. ISBN 9780415620628.
  4. ^ Cuneen, Chris; Anthony, Thalia, eds. (2008). The critical criminology companion. Leichhardt, N.S.W.: Hawkins Press. p. 244. ISBN 9781876067236.
  5. ^ Davies, Michael; Croall, Hazel; Tyrer, Jane (2009). "13: Prisons". Criminal Justice (4 ed.). New York: Pearson Longman. p. 439. ISBN 978-1-4058-5880-9.
  6. ^ Woodcock 1994, p. 9.
  7. ^ "High security". www.justice.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Improvements at murder-hit prison". BBC News. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Travis, Alan; editor, home affairs (13 January 2009). "Gang culture flourishing in top-security jail Long Lartin, report by chief inspector of prisons reveals". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Smith, Hayden (25 July 2017). "High-security prisoners 'segregated for up to two years', report finds". The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Travis, Alan (3 March 2008). "Officials warn of terrorist links to prison gangs". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Flynn, Nick (1998). "3: Prisons". Introduction to prisons and imprisonment. Winchester: Waterside Press. p. 51. ISBN 1-872-870-37-6.
  13. ^ Hughes, Mark (23 March 2010). "HMP Frankland's brutal regime – the inside story". The Independent. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Isle of Wight Prison information". www.justice.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "HMP Belmarsh" (PDF). justiceinspectorates.co.uk. May 2015. p. 29. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Smith, Noel 'Razor' (2015). The criminal alphabet : an A-Z of prison slang (1 ed.). London: Penguin Books. p. 47. ISBN 9780141038568.
  17. ^ Clarke, Peter (April 2016). "Report of an unannounced inspection of HMP Frankland" (PDF). justiceinspectorates.gov.uk. pp. 5–7. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "HMP Full Sutton" (PDF). justiceinspectorates.co.uk. February 2016. p. 7. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "Life behind bars, a prison officer's tale". Harborough Mail. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ "Gartree Prison information". www.justice.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "Hull Prison information". www.justice.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ "HMP Long Lartin" (PDF). justiceinspectorates.co.uk. March 2015. p. 7. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Cusick, James (10 January 1995). "The Parkhirst[sic] Breakout: Fugitives were trapped by the sea". The Independent. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ "Eight of the most audacious prison escapes ever". The Telegraph. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Wakefield Prison information". www.justice.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ Woodcock 1994, p. 10.
  27. ^ Smith, Noel (29 September 2017). "Behind the gate". insidetime.org. Retrieved 3 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

SourcesEdit

External linksEdit