hm prison addiewell

HM Prison Addiewell

HMP Addiewell is a private prison located in West Lothian, Scotland, near the village of Addiewell. Since opening in 2008, it has held adult male prisoners who have been convicted and sentenced, as well as those remanded in custody awaiting trial or sentencing. Operated by the private firm Sodexo Justice Services, HMP Addiewell was purpose-built under a contract from the Scottish Prison Service to house high security prisoners.

Location and Opening

The prison is situated in a rural location surrounded by farmland, about 4 miles east of Livingston. The £80 million complex officially opened on December 12, 2008 with room to hold 700 inmates. An additional 96 spaces were kept in reserve for expansion if needed.

Operator and Contract

French multinational Sodexo operates HMP Addiewell under contract from the Scottish Prison Service. Sodexo formed a consortium with several investment firms to finance, design, construct and maintain the prison through a public-private partnership. The contract stipulates requirements for security, rehabilitation programs and reporting.

Security Classification

As an adult male maximum security facility, HMP Addiewell has category A security standards. This means it houses the most high-risk prisoners in Scotland, requiring stringent control measures and perimeter defenses.

See also  HM Prison Wakefield

Capacity and Population

Original and Current Capacity

Built with 700 inmate spaces plus 96 in reserve, Addiewell began operating at full capacity by 2010. Further expansion has brought the official capacity to 796 as of March 2020. Nearly all spaces are generally occupied.

Types of Prisoners Held

HMP Addiewell holds convicted adult men serving sentences as well as those remanded into custody awaiting trial or sentencing. About three-quarters of the inmates have been sentenced while the remainder are on remand.

Facilities and Conditions

Cell Blocks and Housing Units

Prisoner accommodation comprises seven residential units or cell blocks. Modern in design, the single cells provide toilet facilities and emergency call buttons. Cells open onto landings with access to common rooms and shower blocks.

Workshops and Classrooms

In addition to the cell blocks, other key facilities include workshops, classrooms and teaching spaces to support vocational training, education and skills development. There is also a multi-faith center, visitor center and medical unit.

Exercise Yards

Enclosed outdoor yards attached to each cell block allow access to fresh air and exercise. However, HM Inspectorate reports have criticized the minimal time inmates spend out of their cells.

Recreational Facilities

Common rooms provide pool tables, table tennis and televisions. The library stocks legal reference and information resources along with fiction books. Organized recreational activities are limited though.

Staff and Officers

Operator Staff

As the private operator, Sodexo employees make up the prison management and administrative teams responsible for finance, security, policy compliance, maintenance and rehabilitation programming.

Healthcare Staff

Medical care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists employed by the local NHS health board through an agreement with Sodexo.

See also  HM Prison Leyhill

Prison Officers

A corps prison officers oversees security, prisoner transfers and supervision, enforcement of rules and operating procedures. Officers guard the perimeter as well as directly managing inmates.

History and Timeline

Planning and Approval

Proposals for a new prison at Addiewell first emerged in 2003. After several years of planning and approval steps, the contract was awarded to Sodexo in 2006.

Construction and Opening

Construction of the prison complex began in December 2006. It was structurally completed by September 2008 and officially opened that December.

Early Years and Incidents

The early years of operation saw disturbances and assaults occur in 2009 and 2010. Concerns were raised about control issues fueling the problems.

Disturbances and Unrest

In October 2009, around 20 prisoners were involved in a disruptive incident leading to injuries. Other incidents have involved cells fires, fights and riots resulting in damage and staff injuries.

Overcrowding Issues

By 2010, the inmate population had expanded to fill all 700 main spaces plus utilizing overflow capacity. Close confinement and facility pressures have impacted conditions and tension levels.

Rehabilitation and Reducing Reoffending

A key operational objective has been providing customized intervention programming aimed at reform and rehabilitation.

Addiction Treatment Programs

One priority is substance abuse, addiction and recovery services to address chemical dependency and alteration issues. Counseling, group therapy and pharmacotherapy options help inmates overcome addictions.

Educational Courses

Basic education like math and literacy classes provide academic upgrading. Specialist tutoring addresses learning difficulties. Further courses lead to qualifications like high school diplomas to improve employability.

Job Skills Training

Practical employment training in areas like construction, computer services, commercial cleaning, decorating or industrial recycling and waste management equip inmates with vocational abilities.

See also  Marshalsea

Support After Release

Arranging community follow-up for health services, housing, finances and employment guidance aims to reduce reincarceration through promoting stability and self-sufficiency.


HMP Addiewell has provided high security incarceration for serious convicted offenders and remand prisoners since opening in 2008. Contractual pressures to maintain full capacity has led to prioritizing security over prisoner welfare at times. Ongoing efforts to expand rehabilitation programming illustrates a long-term change strategy focused on successful reintegration after release.


What is HMP Addiewell?

HMP Addiewell is a private maximum security adult male prison located in West Lothian, Scotland operated by Sodexo Justice Services. Opened in 2008, it houses around 800 convicted and remand prisoners.

Who owns and operates the prison?

Sodexo Justice Services finances, designs, builds and operates HMP Addiewell through a public-private partnership contract with the Scottish Prison Service.

Has the prison experienced any problems?

Yes, the early operational years saw disturbances, fires, riots and assaults occur in 2009 and 2010 resulting from control issues and overcrowding pressures.

What rehabilitation programs are offered to inmates?

Key programs address addictions treatment, basic education upgrades, vocational skills training and release planning for community reintegration.

What security classification and standards apply? As an adult male maximum security prison conforming to Category A specifications, HMP Addiewell has stringent security and control measures.

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