HMP Altcourse remains a safe prison despite impact of pandemic.

In its 2019-20 Annual Report published today, the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Altcourse report positive findings despite the challenges of COVID-19.

Highlighting the following:

  • In the judgement of the IMB, Altcourse remains a safe prison and this is evidenced, particularly during the challenges of lockdown, by the low levels of self-harm and violence.
  • The IMB also considers that prisoners have been treated fairly and humanely within the severe constraints upon their movement and lack of access to family visits and activities.
  • Morale amongst both staff and prisoners is good, and regular updates and communications with prisoners have been an important contributory factor.

However, the Board remains concerned that:

  • The prison was built with a much younger prison population in mind. As the population ages, many prisoners will die in prison. In the view of the IMB a national strategy for how this group of more frail prisoners with complex needs can be more appropriately managed and supported is needed.


The IMB Chair, Pat Edwards, said: “The Director and his team should be commended on their management of the prison at this most challenging time.  Good communications with staff and prisoners alike have helped maintain good morale and a sense of calm and stability throughout the establishment”