Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

HM Prison Doncaster

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Location  Doncaster, England
Security class  Category B
Director  Jerry Spencer
Phone  +44 1302 760870
Status  Operational
Managed by  Serco
Opened  1994
Capacity  1,145
HM Prison Doncaster
Address  HMP & YOI Doncaster, Marsh Gate, Doncaster DN5 8UX, United Kingdom
Similar  Gwydir Castle, HM Prison Lindholme, HM Prison Hatfield, HM Prison Birmingham, HM Prison Leeds

HM Prison Doncaster, is a Category B men's private prison, located in the Marshgate area of Doncaster in South Yorkshire, England. The prison is operated by the Serco.



Doncaster Prison was built on the site of Doncaster Power Station, and opened in 1994. Management of the prison was originally contracted out by the Home Office to Premier Prison Services Ltd, a joint venture between Serco and US company Wackenhut Corrections. In 2005, Serco bought out Wackenhut and now runs the prison alone.

In 1999, the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, was criticised for awarding Doncaster Prison a Charter Mark, when it emerged that Doncaster had the worst suicide record of any prison in England and Wales. Jack Straw defended his decision as an "unfortunate coincidence of timing".

In 2004, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons accused Serco of "institutional meanness" at Doncaster Prison, and described conditions there as "squalid". Four years later, an unannounced inspection of the prison found inmates sleeping in toilets because of overcrowding.

The prison today

Classified as a 'local remand' prison, Doncaster can hold 1,145 inmates as of August 2007, considerably more than its original design envisaged. Accommodation at the prison comprises three houseblocks, each houseblock has 4 wings and each wing can hold a maximum of 90 prisoners. The Health Care Centre has 29 beds for in-patients on one floor with a further 36 beds on the lower floor for enhanced workers.

The prison provides education – literacy, numeracy, information technology and vocational skills - healthcare, drug and alcohol counselling, and offending behaviour courses.

Doncaster has links with the local community in order to reduce the chances of former prisoners re-offending. Schemes have been set up with local employers, landlords and other agencies to try to ensure ex-prisoners have a successful resettlement into the community. The prison also has links with a ‘halfway house’ in a nearby town where prisoners can live after release as they adjust to life beyond the prison wall.

The prison has been nicknamed "Doncatraz" by inmates and locals, in reference to the famous Alcatraz prison, in San Francisco Bay. The prison lies between branches of the River Don, River Don Navigation and River Cheswold and appears to be on an 'island'.

Notable former inmates

  • Prince Naseem Hamed, former boxing world champion, jailed for driving dangerously.
  • Baron Ahmed, a member of the House of Lords, jailed for driving dangerously.
  • Jenny Swift (also known as Jonathan Swift), 49, was a transgender woman who had been refused a transfer to a women's prison. She was found dead in her cell.
  • Film and TV links

  • During one episode of the Channel 4 cookery show The F-Word in 2006, Gordon Ramsay cooked in Doncaster Prison for its inmates. He challenged prisoner Kieron Tarff to an onion-chopping race, which Ramsay lost. The chef was so impressed by Tarff that he offered him a job at his restaurant when he would be released in 2007.
  • References

    HM Prison Doncaster Wikipedia

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