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Exeter Prison

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Exeter Prison

HMP Exeter
Location Exeter, Devon
Security class Adult Male/Local
Population 533 (as of July 2005)
Opened 1850
Managed by HM Prison Services
Governor Jeannine Hendrick
Website

HM Prison Exeter is a local men's prison, located in Exeter in the county of Devon, England. The term 'local' means that this prison holds people on remand to the local courts. Exeter Prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.

History

The current Exeter prison was built in 1853, and is of a typical Victorian design, by local architect John Hayward.[1] The prison was based on the plan of the model prison at Pentonville, with four residential wings.

The prison has been the setting for many executions. Of particular note is the attempted execution of John Babbacombe Lee in February 1885. Three attempts were made to carry out his execution. All ended in failure as the trap door of the scaffold failed to open. This was despite the fact it had been carefully tested by James Berry, the executioner, beforehand. As a result, Home Secretary Sir William Harcourt commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Lee continued to petition successive Home Secretaries and was finally released from Exeter prison in 1907.

In August 1999 a report by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons severely criticised conditions at Exeter prison, with some inmates still having to slop out despite government claims that the practice had been eradicated from all jails three years previously. The report went on to state that Exeter Prison seemed to be "at the end of the line" and that industrial relations there bordered on anarchy.[2]

A report issued by the Prison Reform Trust in May 2005 stated that Exeter was struggling with the result of overcrowding. The report criticised the lack of meaningful activities at the prison, resulting in inmates spending too much time locked in their cells. The report also noted, however, that Exeter Prison was among the best in the country at helping to rehabilitate offenders.[3]

Exeter was highlighted again months later for its overcrowding by the Howard League for Penal Reform, who stated that the prison was running at 70% over capacity.[4]

The prison today

HMP Exeter accepts all male adults and young offenders committed to prison by the courts from Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset.

The prison offers inmates employment in the kitchens, waste management, stores and domestic cleaning. Exeter also offers accredited training courses in education, computers, sports and leisure.

References

External links

  • Ministry of Justice pages on Exeter

Coordinates: 50°43′40″N 3°31′56″W / 50.7278°N 3.5321°W / 50.7278; -3.5321

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