What is Askham Grange Prison Like?

What is askham grange prison like

What is Askham Grange Prison Like?

Askham Grange Prison, commonly referred to as ‘Askham’, is situated in the picturesque village of Askham Richard in North Yorkshire. As a women’s open prison managed by HMPPS, it boasts a noteworthy history for spearheading rehabilitation programmes for its inmates, setting a precedent in the UK.

What is Askham Grange Prison Like?

A Storied Past

Opened in January 1947, Askham Grange stands as a testament to progressive penal thinking. It began its journey as the first women’s open prison in the country, under the guidance of Anglo-Irish penal reformer, Mary Size, its inaugural Governor.

Over the years, the prison saw a succession of noteworthy governors. Following Mary Size, Joanna Kelley took the reins, advancing on to the prestigious position of Governor of Holloway later in her career. Marguerite Stocker, and eventually, in 1973, Susan McCormick – a pioneering figure – took over. At a youthful 28, McCormick became the youngest individual to helm a women’s prison in Britain. Her innovative spirit led to the launch of rehabilitation programmes for the soon-to-be-released inmates.

Notable Moments & Innovations

During the late 1970s, Askham Grange became a hub for creativity when inmates Jenny Hicks and Jackie Holborough founded the Clean Break Theatre Company. Evolving into a powerful organization, Clean Break now works with women affected by the judicial system across the UK.

The prison’s unique approach to incarcerated mothers came into the spotlight in the late 90s and early 2000s. Documentaries and High Court battles placed a magnifying glass over the rights of mothers in prison, stimulating public discussions about motherhood behind bars.

What is Askham Grange Prison Like?

Askham Grange Prison

The Transition to Freedom

Catering to adult females and young offenders, Askham Grange provides an environment where prisoners, especially those nearing the end of their sentences, can prepare for their eventual return to society. The prison’s ethos revolves around integration and resettlement.

Furthermore, the institution offers a plethora of vocational training opportunities, community-based work placements, and other re-integration programs. The Grange Coffee Shop and Garden Centre, a delightful public venue, is managed by the inmates. This, along with the Conference Centre, offers the women tangible job experiences to harness for post-prison life.

Facilities & Offerings

While Askham Grange’s accommodation primarily consists of dormitories, they provide single rooms, especially in the Mother and Baby unit. Family days, synchronized with school holidays, allow inmates to reconnect with their families.

HMP Askham Grange, ensconced in a grand Manor house built in 1846, was a luxurious private residence before its transition into the UK’s pioneering open women’s prison. Today, the institution is lauded for its top-notch educational facilities, having garnered impressive accolades from OFSTED.

Life at Askham Grange

Upon entry, inmates undergo a detailed interview and assessment to determine their security category and specific needs. Their behaviour significantly impacts their privileges, including visits and entitlements.

Ensuring the rights of all prisoners, Askham Grange provides protection against bullying, legal representation access, and comprehensive healthcare, emphasizing mental health.

Mothers & Babies in Askham

An April 2019 inspection lauded the prison, especially highlighting the superior facilities for mothers and their infants. With rooms for ten mothers and their young ones, the Mother and Baby unit is a beacon of excellence.

Moreover, Acorn House, a dedicated facility within the prison premises, further solidifies Askham’s commitment to nurturing mother-child relationships during incarceration. Managed by Barnardos, it not only offers a nurturing environment but also organizes activities and trips to strengthen familial bonds. Despite the seemingly unconventional setting, the facility ensures child safety and the ultimate well-being of mothers and their young ones.

Concluding Thoughts

Askham Grange Prison’s modern approach to inmate rehabilitation, its emphasis on restoring familial ties, and its commitment to education stand as a shining example in the realm of penal systems. It continually asks and answers the vital question: What is Askham Grange Prison like? Through its innovations and empathetic policies, the prison strives to bridge the gap between incarceration and reintegration into society.

What is Askham Grange Prison Like