HM Prison Wymott
HM Prison Wymott is a medium security men’s prison located in Lancashire, England. With a population exceeding 1,000 inmates, Wymott plays an important role in the UK’s criminal justice system. However, it has also faced controversies and challenges over its history. This article will provide an in-depth look at Wymott – its history, facilities, daily life for inmates, issues, and overall significance. Whether you want to learn more about the British prison system or simply this particular institution, read on to uncover the workings of HMP Wymott.
History of HMP Wymott
Opening and Early Years
HMP Wymott first opened in 1979 as a short term Category C men’s prison intended for inmates nearing the end of their sentences. The early 1980s saw it functioning close to capacity with a full population. However, this period was just the calm before the storm.
Riots in the 1980s and 90s
In 1986, Wymott experienced a major riot that caused extensive damage to cell blocks and living units. Just seven years later in 1993, another riot broke out that nearly forced a complete evacuation of the prison. Two entire wings were demolished and rebuilt due to the riots.
Facilities and Population Today
Security Category and Population
Wymott is currently classified as a Category C prison intended for medium security inmates who cannot be trusted in open conditions but are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt. The typical population hovers around 1,000 adult male prisoners.
Units and Wings
Inmates considered vulnerable, primarily sex offenders, are housed in Units A, B, F, G, and I. The rest of the population resides in other cell blocks. Segregation of prisoners by offense type is common.
Work and Skills Training
Prisoners provide labor that keeps Wymott running, including food preparation, tailoring, and printing. Partnerships with outside companies provide vocational opportunities in industries like truck manufacturing.
A 70-place therapeutic community operates at Wymott to treat inmates overcoming drug addictions. This self-contained rehab provides intensive counseling and recovery services.
Life in Wymott Prison
Daily Routine and Regulations
The typical prisoner’s day starts around 7 AM with breakfast in the canteen. Various work assignments fill up the morning hours. After lunch, prisoners can attend education classes, vocational training, religious services, counseling sessions, or recreational activities. Lockdown and lights out happens around 9:30 PM. Strict security and disciplinary rules govern the inmates’ entire day.
Food and Meals
Food quality often draws complaints from Wymott inmates, though nutritionally balanced meals are provided. Prisoners take meals together in the dining hall. Special diets for medical needs or religious reasons are available.
Healthcare and Mental Health Services
Basic medical, dental, and mental health services are offered on-site, though waiting lists can be long. Nurses provide routine care while doctors and psychiatrists make appointments with inmates needing treatment.
Education and Vocational Training
Classes provide basic education along with vocational skills like construction, plumbing, and electrical work. Inmates can pursue diplomas and certifications to increase employment chances after release. Partnerships with trucking companies offer on-the-job training.
Recreation Time and Facilities
Wymott offers both indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities. A well-equipped gym, sports courts, and playing fields allow inmates to stay active. Television rooms, pool tables, board games, and libraries provide entertainment and mental stimulation.
Controversies and Issues
Like many UK prisons, overcrowding remains an issue at Wymott. Too many inmates strains facilities and increases tensions. Cells meant for one often house two or three prisoners.
Staffing levels have not kept pace with increased populations. Guards are overworked, leading to safety risks. Uncertainty over private contracts has worsened hiring difficulties. Public sector unions blame poor government planning.
Mental Health Concerns
With limited access to counseling and psychiatry services, many inmates do not receive needed mental health treatment. Prison advocates argue lack of funding leaves the most vulnerable prisoners neglected.
Drug Use and Rehabilitation Debates
Wymott struggles with availability of illicit drugs that fuel violence and addiction. Some call for increased rehabilitation services to tackle these issues. Others argue tighter security and punishment serve as the only deterrent.
Impact and Significance
Role in Criminal Justice System
As a medium security facility housing over 1,000 prisoners, Wymott plays an important role in the UK’s criminal justice apparatus. Its population represents those nearing parole or release dates.
Reoffending Rates of Former Inmates
High reoffending rates of released prisoners indicate room for improvement on Wymott’s rehabilitation and vocational training programs. However, limited data makes it difficult to compare its recidivism impact.
Costs and Value to Taxpayers
With aging facilities and costly security needs, some critics question whether Wymott offers taxpayers good value. But defenders argue its focus on rehabilitation provides societal benefits.
HMP Wymott has undergone many changes since its beginnings in 1979. After early instability and riots, it transitioned to a rehabilitative environment focused on vocational training and therapy. However, it continues to face issues like overcrowding common within the UK prison system. Moving forward, Wymott faces challenges but will play an important role for the hundreds of inmates it houses each year. With the right reforms, it can provide redemption opportunities for prisoners nearing their release dates.
What security category is HMP Wymott?
Wymott is a Category C prison, meaning it houses medium security prisoners who cannot be trusted in open conditions but are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.
What types of prisoners are housed at Wymott?
Most inmates at Wymott are adult males, including vulnerable prisoners such as sex offenders separated into dedicated wings. The average population is around 1,000.
What opportunities are available for prisoner rehabilitation and training?
Wymott offers skills training in trades, education classes, partnerships with companies for vocational experience, and therapeutic drug rehab programs aimed at rehabilitation.
How does daily life work for the prisoners at Wymott?
A structured routine governs each day with set times for meals, work assignments, classes, counseling, recreation, religious services, and lockdowns. Strict security and disciplinary policies are enforced.
What are some of the major controversies surrounding HMP Wymott?
Issues like overcrowding, understaffing, lack of mental health services, debates over drug rehab vs security, high recidivism rates, and aging facilities have sparked controversies about conditions and effectiveness.