HM Prison Humber
Her Majesty’s Prison Humber, located in Everthorpe, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, is a Category C male prison operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service. The prison was created in 2014 through the merger of two neighboring facilities – HMP Everthorpe and HMP Wolds. This amalgamation was intended to increase capacity and improve operations, but has faced challenges in fully integrating the two sites. Nonetheless, HMP Humber plays a vital role in the region’s criminal justice system.
A History of Change and Challenges
HMP Everthorpe has undergone many transitions since it first opened in 1958 as a borstal for young offenders. Converted to an adult male prison in 1991, it was criticized after a major riot over Christmas in 1995 revealed problems with security, staffing, and management. Despite expansions in 2005 to handle more prisoners, rehabilitation and education programs failed to keep up.
Similarly, HMP Wolds experienced shifts from a remand to training prison after opening in 1992 as the first privately-operated prison in the UK. It reverted to public management in 2013 before the merger creating HMP Humber. This poorly implemented unification meant delays in connecting the sites and adjusting staff roles.
Inside HMP Humber Today
Population and Capacity
As of April 2020, HMP Humber had an operational capacity of 1062 adult male prisoners, predominantly categorized as Category C. This means they cannot be trusted in open conditions but are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.
Inmates are housed in a combination of old and new facilities ranging from Victorian era blocks to modern purpose-built wings. Nearly half the population resides in overcrowded double cells built for one. Prisons have implemented in-cell phones and electronic kiosks for requests to improve conditions.
Staff and Management
A 2018 inspection found HMP Humber to be reasonably well-led with committed staff. However, significant staff shortages have impacted prison operations, requiring officers to multitask beyond their normal duties. The expansive nature of the merged site also makes moving prisoners and staff between units challenging.
Safety and Security
Gangs, drugs, violence, and intimidation undermine safety at HMP Humber. While security measures are robust, including mail screening and perimeter cameras, assaults and self-harm have increased sharply in recent years. The prison struggles to control the pervasive drug problem fueling much of the violence.
Rehabilitation and Education
Educational and vocational opportunities exist but are limited in scope and uptake. Only half the population is engaged in purposeful activity like work or classes. Resettlement preparation for release needs improvement as well. The merge has hindered rehabilitation efforts across the dispersed facility.
Health and Wellbeing
Mental health support is available but strained due to growing demand. Four inmate deaths occurred in 2018 alone, one of them self-inflicted. Communicable diseases like COVID-19 and tuberculosis also pose challenges for containment and healthcare in the dense prison environment.
Impacting the Community
Beyond its walls, HMP Humber affects the region through economic contributions of staff and local procurement. But rehabilitation and recidivism impact communities long-term. More effective vocational training and post-release support could lower reoffending rates among ex-prisoners.
An Ongoing Evolution
HM Prison Humber continues to adapt its aging infrastructure and merged operations to safely and humanely house over 1000 Category C prisoners. Progress has been made to increase capacity, improve facilities, and implement more reforms. But significant challenges remain around overcrowding, rehabilitation, safety, and developing a unified culture. Its future direction will determine the prison’s role and influence in the regional justice system.
What are the security categories for UK prisons?
The UK uses a Category A-D system to classify prison security levels. Category A is the highest security for dangerous prisoners. Category D is open conditions for inmates nearing release. HMP Humber is Category C – lower security but still closed conditions.
What types of inmates are housed at HMP Humber?
HMP Humber holds adult male prisoners predominantly categorized as Category C. These inmates cannot be trusted in open conditions but are considered unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.
How many prisoners can HMP Humber hold?
As of April 2020, the operational capacity was reported as 1062 prisoners. Nearly half are housed in overcrowded double cells originally built for single occupancy.
What problems has HMP Humber faced?
Key challenges have included overcrowding, rehabilitation/education deficits, safety issues like drugs and violence, poor staffing ratios, and difficulties fully integrating the merged prison sites.
When did HMP Everthorpe and HMP Wolds merge?
The merger process began in 2013, but the two facilities continued partially separate operations until connections between them were completed in May 2015, forming the new HMP Humber.