What is Bure Prison Like?
What is HMP Bure Prison Like? An Inside Look at Norfolk’s Category C Facility
HMP Bure is a Category C prison for adult males situated in the rural locality of Scottow, Norfolk. Operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service, the facility has been functional since November 2009 and is designed to accommodate up to 624 inmates. But what is life really like behind the bars of this unique prison, which once served as an RAF base? Read on to find out. You can read the ultimate prison survival guide here
The Historical Background: From Airbase to Bure Prison
HMP Bure is located on land that was originally part of RAF Coltishall, a base with a storied past that goes back to World War II. This airfield was instrumental in British “night fighting” operations, despite the limited technology of the time. It was later the home of the “Jaguar Force” whose planes played a significant role in the 1991 Gulf War. The airbase was decommissioned in 2006, eventually giving way to a different form of occupancy: a prison.
The initial intention for the decommissioned airbase was to turn it into an Immigration Detention Centre. However, due to a rapidly increasing prison population and overcrowding, the Home Office shifted gears to construct a prison on the site. Unveiled in August 2009, it was disclosed that the primary purpose of HMP Bure would be to house sex offenders.
North Norfolk’s Liberal Democrat MP, Norman Lamb, opposed the construction, citing the remote location as counterproductive to reducing reoffending rates. The far-off setting makes it difficult for families to maintain contact, a factor thought to contribute to lower rates of reoffending.
What is Bure Prison Like?
The Structure and Capacity
Much of HMP Bure is retrofitted from the old RAF structures, including the former airmen’s housing blocks and other amenities. Through multiple phases of development, the prison’s capacity has gradually expanded from 259 to its current capacity of 624. Among the recent additions is Res 7, a wing opened in 2013, which provides space for an extra 101 inmates.
Prison Regime and Rehabilitation Efforts
HMP Bure offers various educational and vocational programs through its Learning Resource Centre. These include a range of courses, along with practical skills training in areas like painting, decorating, and industrial cleaning. The prison also collaborates with organizations such as NACRO, Citizens Advice Bureau, Jobcentre Plus, and Alcoholics Anonymous to provide comprehensive support to inmates.
Economic Impact on Norfolk
The establishment of HMP Bure has had a significant economic impact on Norfolk, creating an estimated 400 full-time jobs in the area. This was highlighted by the then governor-designate, Paul Cawkwell, who saw the robust WWII-era buildings as ideal for secure, prison-based housing.
HMP Bure is a facility filled with contrasts – from its historical roots as an RAF base to its current role as a prison primarily for sex offenders. Despite its somewhat controversial inception and remote location, the prison aims to be more than just a holding facility. It offers educational and vocational training, with the goal of rehabilitating its inmates, while also providing economic benefits to the Norfolk area.
For families and communities affected, understanding the internal workings of HMP Bure can offer some insights into the life their loved ones might expect while serving time in this unique institution.