hm prison forest bank

HM Prison Forest Bank

HM Prison Forest Bank is a Category B men’s private prison located in the Agecroft area of Pendlebury, Salford in Greater Manchester, England. The 25-year design, construct, manage and finance contract for the facility was awarded to Kalyx (now Sodexo Justice Services) in 1997.

History and Background

Forest Bank Prison was constructed on the site of the former Agecroft Power Station and officially opened in January 2000 with an initial capacity of 1,460 adult male inmates. It was built under what was known as the Private Finance Initiative, making it one of the first prisons in the UK to be fully designed, constructed and operated by a private company.

Facility Details and Layout

The prison campus itself covers around 11 acres of land and contains eight residential wings (A-H), a healthcare unit and a Care and Separation Unit (CSU) where inmates under discipline are held in solitary confinement. Most cells are designed for single occupancy and contain a toilet, shower, bed, desk and storage space. Some double cells are also available. Exercise yards, kitchens, laundry rooms, workshops, classrooms and other facilities are located around the campus.

Inmate Population and Classification

As a Category B local prison, Forest Bank holds both remand prisoners awaiting trial at local courts and sentenced inmates largely from the Greater Manchester area. The majority are classified as Category C, meaning they cannot be trusted in open conditions but are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.

See also  HM Prison Peterborough

Issues and Controversies

Throughout its history, HMP Forest Bank has dealt with issues like inmate violence, drugs, escapes and criticism of staff inexperience.

Early reports praised staff-inmate relationships but noted lack of activities for prisoners. Later inspections found high levels of drugs and rampant intimidation of younger inmates. Prison officers were also caught smuggling contraband.

Several daring inmate escapes occurred when prisoners were able to flee from guards while being treated at nearby hospitals.

Recent Inspections and Improvements

However, the past decade has seen signs of improvement at Forest Bank. Recent inspections found a decline in assaults, use of force by staff and self-harm incidents. There is increased purposeful activity for inmates,better safety and care for vulnerable prisoners. But there is still room for more inmate training and education opportunities.

Life Inside HM Prison Forest Bank

So what is day-to-day life actually like for prisoners spending time inside HM Forest Bank?

Inmate Accommodations

As mentioned, most inmates are housed in single cells with the basics like a bed, toilet and desk area. They are allowed to decorate their cell within reason and can purchase approved items like TVs and snacks from the commissary. Cells are small though and afford little privacy.

Daily Routine and Activities

A typical weekday might involve breakfast around 8am followed by a work assignment, education classes, exercise time, lunch and free time before being locked in cells at night. Evenings and weekends are less structured with more recreational activities. Many prisoners work laundry, kitchen and cleaning jobs to earn a small wage.

Healthcare and Services

The prison provides medical, dental and mental health services on site. Nurses are on duty 24/7 and doctors make regular visits for appointments and evaluations. Issues like drug rehabilitation are also available. Food service, pastoral care and library access aim to meet basic needs.

See also  Fisherton Gaol

Visitation and Communication

Inmates can receive social visits on certain days as well as professional visits from legal counsel. Some privileges like phone time are allowed. Mail to and from outside is monitored by staff. Visits provide an important link to family.

Working at the Prison

So what is it like to work at a facility like HM Prison Forest Bank as a member of the prison staff?

Staff Duties and Operations

Uniformed guards oversee the day-to-day operations and security of the prison. They supervise inmate movements and activities, conduct searches and checks for contraband, maintain order and enforce rules. Administrative staff work in roles like healthcare, education, maintenance, food service and commissary.

Staff Training and Experience

Historically, inexperience of personnel has been an issue at Forest Bank. But ongoing training programmes aim to equip new officers with knowledge of policies and procedures. On the job mentoring also helps build experience. Staff must balance custody with rehabilitation of inmates.

Staff-Inmate Relations

Positive staff-inmate relationships are important for safety and control. Officers must remain professional and vigilant against manipulation. Fairness and respect between staff and prisoners fosters a better environment. Use of force is monitored.

Staff Turnover and Morale

Like at many prisons, turnover rates can be high due to stress and demanding nature of the job. Better wages and increased hiring aims to improve retention. Morale varies but overall seems to be on the rise with improved inmate behaviour and programmes.

Future Outlook

What does the future hold for HMP Forest Bank? Some considerations:

See also  HM Prison Erlestoke

Potential Expansion Plans

With UK prison populations projected to grow, there could be opportunity for further expansion of facilities at Forest Bank. Additional capacity may help alleviate overcrowding elsewhere.

Calls for Further Improvements

Ongoing efforts to improve safety, increase inmate programmes and expand education/work opportunities are still needed per recent inspections. The prison must continue evolving and progressing.

Privatization Debate

Some still argue against the privatized model of prisons like Forest Bank in favor of government-run institutions. But privatization also brings certain efficiencies. The debate continues on the best approach.

Impact of Sentencing Changes

As alternative sentencing programmes develop, inmate populations may stabilize or decline, changing the demand for prison beds. Forest Bank will need to be flexible.

In conclusion, HM Prison Forest Bank has progressed from a troubled beginning to become a stabilizing force in the UK prison system, though improvement is still needed. With proper funding and oversight, the facility can provide humane confinement and rehabilitative opportunities. Ongoing evolution will be key to its future success.


What is the capacity of HM Prison Forest Bank?

The current operational capacity of Forest Bank is around 1,460 adult male inmates, both remand and sentenced.

How large is the physical site of the prison?

Forest Bank sits on approximately 11 acres of land in the Agecroft area of Salford. This houses all inmate residential units, facilities, workshops, healthcare, kitchens, recreation areas and more within its secure perimeter.

What category of prisoners are held there?

Forest Bank holds Category B and C adult male prisoners, aged 21 and older. Most inmates are Category C meaning they cannot be trusted in open conditions but are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt if held securely.

How many staff work at the prison?

As a private facility, Forest Bank does not publish exact staff numbers. But it likely employees several hundred staff in security, administration, facilities, healthcare, education and other roles. Staffing levels have increased in recent years.

What private company operates Forest Bank?

HM Prison Forest Bank is currently operated by Sodexo Justice Services under contract from the UK Ministry of Justice. Sodexo assumed management after acquiring the former operating company Kalyx. The contract extends to 2025 before being re-bid.

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