HM Prison Feltham
HMP Feltham first opened in 1859 as an industrial school before becoming a borstal institution in 1910. The current buildings were constructed in 1991 when Feltham Borstal merged with Ashford Remand Centre. Located in the London Borough of Hounslow, west of the city, it is operated by HM Prison Service and serves as a detention center for juveniles and young adult offenders.
The Prison Today
With an operational capacity of 768, Feltham holds both juveniles and young adults in separate units. The regime aims to provide education, training, and rehabilitation programs to the inmates. However, the prison has faced controversies and challenges when it comes to violence and conditions.
Issues and Controversies
Feltham has dealt with high levels of violence and concerns about racism amongst staff. The murder of Zahid Mubarek by his racist cellmate prior to release brought scrutiny to the establishment. There have been proposals to rebrand and rebuild the prison to distance it from its reputation.
Inspections and Reports
Government inspections praise efforts to handle race relations but cite ongoing issues with violence among inmates and use of force by officers. Recent reports call out the lack of activities and the lengthy detention of prisoners in their cells.
Programs and Regime
Feltham aims to provide education, vocational training, rehabilitation groups, and pre-release courses. Voluntary sector agencies also offer services. However, restricted time out of cells limits participation.
Life Inside HMP Feltham
Population and Accommodation
The young adult units house around 60 prisoners with a mix of single and double rooms. The juvenile units hold 30 with mostly single rooms. All rooms have in-cell sanitation and TVs.
Daily Routine and Activities
The regime includes full or part-time education, workshops, construction training, farm work, and courses. Violent inmates can face 23 hour solitary confinement. Access to showers and exercise is restricted during this isolation.
Healthcare and Rehabilitation
Inspectors describe healthcare as good with impressive mental health support. But restricted time out of cells reduces access to programs and rehabilitation services intended to help resettle inmates.
High Profile Names
Well known former prisoners include cricketers, musicians, hackers, and terrorists. Mohammad Amir, Ghetts, J Hus, Topiary, Richard Reid, and Crazy Titch have all served sentences at Feltham.
Convictions of Past Prisoners
They were jailed for various offenses – murder, robbery, drug crimes, violence, and terrorism related charges have put famous figures behind the walls of HMP Feltham over the decades.
Addressing the Problems
Tackling Violence and Gangs
With 48 known gangs, Feltham aims to control violence by isolating ringleaders. But this has limits, so more constructive activities and positive incentives are needed to change the culture.
Improving Conditions and Care
Access to education, training, healthcare and rehabilitation services needs to increase. Officers require training to reduce use of force.better staff-to-inmate ratios could help build relationships.
Plans for the Future
Proposals suggest rebuilding and expanding Feltham with upgraded adult and youth facilities. More spaces could help separate inmates based on risk levels and needs.
HMP Feltham faces ongoing challenges with its reputation, inmate violence, and restrictive conditions. But efforts are being made to rehabilitate prisoners through education, training, and treatment programs. Further progress relies on reforms that address overcrowding, lack of activities, staff conduct and access to services. With the right approach, Feltham can become an institution focused on effectively reintegrating young offenders and juveniles into society.
What kind of offenders are housed at Feltham?
Feltham holds male juveniles and young adult offenders aged 18-21 in separate units.
What facilities and services are available?
There is education, vocational training, workshops, rehabilitation groups, healthcare, and pre-release support.
How does the regime address violence and gangs?
Strategies include isolating violent ringleaders and trying to engage inmates constructively, but more is needed to tackle the culture.
What changes are proposed for Feltham?
Suggestions include rebuilding and expanding the site to upgrade facilities, increase capacity, and improve separation of inmates.
What are the main aims for the future?
The goals are to enhance safety, lift restrictions, get prisoners into productive activities, improve officer conduct and expand access to rehabilitative services.