HM Prison Highpoint North
Her Majesty’s Prison Highpoint North is a Category C adult male prison located in rural Suffolk, known for its high-profile inmates and turbulent history. This imposing complex has evolved from an RAF station to a refugee center, and now houses over 300 convicted men. While no stranger to controversy, Highpoint aims to provide constructive regimes to facilitate rehabilitation.
A Wartime Airbase Turned Detention Center
The grounds of Highpoint North first served the military, operating as an RAF station from 1938 until closure in 1970. Briefly converted into a transit camp for displaced Ugandan refugees, its next incarnation was as a prison.
Highpoint Opens Its Gates
Highpoint Prison was established in 1977 amid nationwide expansion of the prison system. The facility operated as a mixed prison until 1997, when the northern section was dedicated to female inmates.
Briefly a Women’s Prison
Between 1997 and 2003, Highpoint North became a women’s jail, while the southern portion continued to house men. After the prisons were administratively separated in 2001, Highpoint North reverted to a male population in 2005.
Notorious Name Changes
In 2003, the prison was renamed HMP Edmunds Hill, then changed again to Highpoint North in 2011. This confusing array of titles reflects the site’s shifting roles.
Troubled Times Behind Bars
Highpoint has seen significant disorder and poor conditions during its history as a jail.
Riots and Protests
There have been various prison riots over issues like poor facilities, bans on smoking, and inadequate drug treatment programs.
Mortality Rates and Mistreatment
Concerns over staffing and healthcare have also been raised, including high mortality rates and lack of programs for those with mental illnesses.
Housing Notorious Criminals
Nonetheless, due to its high security categorization, Highpoint has held some of Britain’s most infamous lawbreakers.
Notorious “Moors Murderer” Myra Hindley spent almost five years imprisoned here before her death in 2002.
Other Infamous Inmates
Other well-known convicts like Boy George, Ali Dizaei, and Linda Calvey have also served time at Highpoint.
An Institutional Melting Pot
Today, Highpoint North houses convicts from varied backgrounds within its varied complex.
Six Residential Blocks
The prison consists of six sizable cell blocks. Three are dedicated treatment units, while the other three general blocks each contain 67 prisoners.
Inmates can participate in education programs and activities like data entry, cleaning, gardening, and catering.
Gym and Chaplaincy
Recreational amenities include a prison gym, along with access to a chaplain and religious services.
Highpoint North has capacity for 379 prisoners and is managed by HM Prison Service under Governor Nigel Smith.
While Highpoint North has faced difficulties typical of an older, high-security prison, recent efforts aim to expand rehabilitative opportunities. With continued progress, Highpoint may transition from its turbulent past into a facility focused on reforming offenders.
When did Highpoint North open?
Highpoint North originally opened in 1977 as Highpoint Prison. The north part opened as a women’s prison in 1997 before reverting back to a male prison in 2005.
What type of inmates are housed there?
As a Category C prison, Highpoint North houses adult male convicted prisoners who cannot be trusted in open conditions but are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.
What is the capacity of the prison?
Highpoint North has a maximum capacity of around 379 prisoners. The complex consists of 6 residential blocks housing between 67-160 inmates each.
What facilities are available?
Facilities include educational classrooms, work programs, a gymnasium, healthcare services, a chaplain, and worship space. There are also open spaces for recreation.
Has Highpoint North had any famous inmates?
Yes, some notorious criminals like Myra Hindley, Boy George, and Ali Dizaei have served time at Highpoint North over the years.