What is Feltham YOI Prison Like?

What is Feltham YOI Prison Like

What is Feltham YOI Prison Like? An Inside Look at the Conditions and Challenges


Located on Bedfont Road in South West London, HMP Feltham B is a Young Offender Institution that houses young men between the ages of 18 and 21. It has garnered attention for its alarming levels of violence among inmates, leading many to live in fear and avoid leaving their cells. With only 60% of prisoners participating in educational programs, the question remains: What is Feltham YOI Prison like?

The Issue of Violence

Recent inspections have revealed ‘unacceptable levels of violence’ within the prison walls. A staggering 175 out of the 307 prisoners were placed in ‘keep-aparts,’ a method of segregation to minimize conflict. Contrary to its purpose, this practice has exacerbated gang-related behaviors and disputes, creating an additional layer of tension among inmates. Violence seems to thrive in the prison, whether imported from outside conflicts or exacerbated by internal affiliations.

What is Feltham YOI Prison Like?

The Pandemic’s Impact

Pandemic-related restrictions have added fuel to the fire. Small groupings of prisoners have led to increased tension and antagonism, as they had limited opportunities to resolve conflicts due to the restrictions. In the last year alone, 283 assaults occurred among prisoners, and 53 assaults were reported on staff.

Safety Concerns

The fear for personal safety has hit an all-time high, with a survey revealing that 27% of the prisoners felt unsafe, compared to 14% in prior assessments and 12% in similar institutions. Many prisoners have told inspectors that they live in constant fear of physical assault, contributing to poor attendance in educational and workshop activities.

What is Feltham YOI Prison Like?

What is Feltham YOI Prison Like?

The Role of Staff

Despite these challenges, the relationship between prisoners and prison officers is generally good. The use of force, although high, has been deemed “justified and proportionate.” Officers have effectively intervened to prevent more serious injuries, often dealing with pre-planned assaults between various groups.

Education and Rehabilitation Efforts

Although educational attendance is low due to the climate of fear, there have been attempts to encourage literacy. The library is well-utilized, and prisoners can request books to be delivered to their cells. Remote quizzes and the Reading Ahead program have also been implemented to promote literacy and education.

Final Thoughts

Chief Inspector Charlie Taylor sums it up: “Feltham B had fallen into the habit of maintaining extensive keep-apart lists, making it one of the most violent institutions.” However, he also notes that the foundation for improvement exists, given the good relationships between staff and prisoners, and an active, present governor supported by an experienced team.

Action is being taken to improve conditions, including a boost in prison officer pay and the roll-out of body-worn video cameras. But for true rehabilitation to occur, tackling the root causes of violence and fear within Feltham YOI Prison remains imperative.

What is Feltham YOI Prison Like?