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HM Prison Gartree

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Population  703 (as of July 2014)
Governor  Alison Barker
Opened  1965
Managed by  HM Prison Services
Phone  +44 1858 426600
HM Prison Gartree
Location  Market Harborough, Leicestershire
Website  Gartree at
Address  Gallow Field Rd, Market Harborough LE16 7RP, UK
Security class  Prisoner security categories in the United Kingdom
Similar  The Harborou Mail, Robert Smyth Academy, St Luke's Hospital, Market Harborou (MHR), HMP Onley

HM Prison Gartree is a Category B men's prison, located in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England. Gartree is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.



Gartree Prison opened in 1965, and was originally a Category C training centre, but its status was quickly upgraded to a maximum security prison.

The prison is infamous for a daring helicopter escape in 1987. The breakout remains the only one of its type to have been carried out in the United Kingdom. On 10 December 1987 at 3.15 pm, John Kendall and Sydney Draper were sprung from Gartree's exercise yard with the aid of a hijacked Bell 206L helicopter. Kendall was a gangland boss serving eight years while Draper was serving a life sentence for murder. The escape caused great controversy at the time and led to a tightening of security at the jail. Kendall was recaptured 10 days later, but Draper remained on the run for another 13 months.

In 1992 Gartree was downgraded from a category A to a category B training prison. Since then the population of life sentenced prisoners at Gartree grew, and in 1997 the prison's role changed to that of a main life prisoner centre.

In a 2003 report the Board of Visitors criticised Gartree Prison for a serious shortage of staff, and budget cuts which were having a significant impact on services at the jail. The report noted that despite more than 30 proven allegations of racial discrimination between prisoners, there were not enough resources at the prison to release a member of staff to train as a race relations officer.

In June 2004 a scheme to support older prisoners was launched at Gartree Prison. This was in response to the fact that Gartree had one of the highest number of older prisoners in the country, holding 400 inmates aged over 50, with 17 aged over 60 and three in their 70s. The scheme which was backed by Age Concern was designed to work with older prisoners to promote access to their rights and discuss services within the prison.

The prison today

Gartree Prison currently has Category B status, and many of its inmates are long-term prisoners serving life sentences. Most prisoners are employed in prison workshops or in the prison gardens, however there is a small learning department which provides education including offending behaviour programmes. 2013 X Factor winner Sam Bailey is a former Prison Officer at the prison.

Notable former inmates

  • Charles Bronson
  • Fred West
  • Ian Brady
  • Anthony Sawoniuk
  • Tony Martin
  • Reggie Kray
  • References

    HM Prison Gartree Wikipedia

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