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Swansea (HM Prison)






Photograph © Deborah Tilley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Swansea (HM Prison)
HM Prison Swansea is a Category B/C men's prison, located in the Sandfields area of Swansea, Wales. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service, and is colloquially known as 'Cox's farm', after a former governor.

Swansea is a Victorian prison built between 1845 and 1861 to replace former prison accommodation at Swansea Castle. Both male and female inmates were incarcerated there until 1922, at which point all females were transferred to Cardiff Prison.

Execution site
A total of 9 judicial executions took place at Swansea prison. The condemned prisoners were hanged for the crime of murder. Their names, ages and dates of execution are:

  • William Joseph Foy, 25 yrs, 8 May 1909
  • Henry Phillips, 44 yrs, 14 December 1911
  • Daniel Sullivan, 38 yrs, 6 September 1916
  • Trevor Edwards, 21 yrs, 11 December 1928
  • Rex Harvey Jones, 21 yrs, 4 August 1949
  • Robert Mackintosh, 21 yrs, 4 August 1949
  • Albert Jenkins, 38 yrs, 19 April 1950
  • Thomas Harries, 25 yrs, 28 April 1954
  • Vivian Teed, 24 yrs, 6 May 1958

The remains of all executed prisoners were buried in unmarked graves within the prison walls, as was customary.

Recent history
In April 2002, an inspection report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons condemned conditions for inmates at Swansea Prison. The report called on the prison to improve cleanliness and sanitation, particularly for vulnerable inmates who are housed away from other prisoners. The report also highlighted the lack of showers in all areas, which meant that not all inmates were able to shower every day. However the prison was praised for its rehabilitation of inmates.

Four months later, a survey of prison numbers revealed that HMP Swansea was Wales's most overcrowded jail, and one of the top five most densely-populated in Britain. Statistics showed that Swansea was holding 145 more inmates than the 219 it should have been accommodating. Overcrowding has been an issue at the prison ever since.

The prison today
Swansea is a Category B/C prison for adult males remanded into custody from the local courts, as well as convicted and sentenced prisoners.

Prisoners are employed in the prisons workshops, kitchen and recycling units. Full and part time education is also provided. Other features include a Prisoner And Liaison Support Scheme, a Swansea City Football Club Social inclusion officer scheme, Prisoner elected councils, Job Centre Plus, Housing Officers and Community Chaplaincy.

In the early 1980s, Swansea started the Samaritans trained 'Prisoner Listener Scheme', that has now been developed in most prisons in the UK.


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