Published: 05:00, 25 May 2022
| Updated: 14:49, 25 May 2022
Hooch, violence, weapons, drugs and PlayStations are a way of life inside the maximum security prison, housing Kent’s most infamous killers.
For forty years HMP Frankland, a Category A men’s prison, has been known as one of the country’s toughest prisons.
Located around five miles from the centre of Durham, Frankland opened in 1980 with four wings and 108 cells in each. Four more wings have been added more recently.
It now houses 850 men aged over 21 whose sentences are four years or more.
It hosts a ‘management progression’ segregation centre, with a further 28 cells, two of which are used for close supervision.
And a fresh report has revealed how fraught with danger life can be behind the walls, for both staff and inmates.
Violence and culture
According to the report, violence erupts on average every four days.
Of those assaults, 26 were against staff and 59 were prisoner-on-prisoner attacks last year, with eight receiving injuries requiring hospital treatment.
Despite HMP Frankland containing nine in-patient rooms, staffing remains a “constant challenge,” where it takes 12 days for inmates to see a doctor and 427 days for a dental appointment, the Independent Monitoring Boards’ report states.
A unique issue exists inside the high security jail, adding a further catalyst for anti-social behaviour.
"There has been an increase in fake rule 39 post which has been impregnated with drugs...'"
“It is the most northern of the high security prisons, and some prisoners make every attempt - including being disruptive - to get transferred to a prison nearer their families,” the report adds.
Inmates who stay are held in single cells, equipped with a sink, loo, TV and bedding, however, there are no in-cell phones, as there are in other jails.
Illegal contraband continues to be an issue.
Like life on the outside, criminals and officials are locked in a perpetual drugs war, the former developing more ingenious methods to smuggle contraband, forcing the latter to constantly adapt.
Legally confidential letters from lawyers, sent to prisoners, must be marked ‘Rule 39.’
But criminals have been infusing fake solicitor letters with drugs or simply packing them with contraband.
"Thirteen of the Sim cards were found in one month, December 2020," the report continues.
"There has been an increase in fake rule 39 post which has been impregnated with drugs,”
Leisure and education
The pandemic continues to tear through the prison estate, forcing governors to lock inmates inside their cells for longer.
Xboxes, PlayStations and DVD players are allowed for standard prisoners, while friends and families can send approved ‘distraction packs’ containing films, music and games.
A weekly prison newsletter was published with in-cell exercises, quizzes, alongside national and local updates outlining Covid-19 development, the report says.
Throughout the more restrictive regime, prisoners had access to a phone call, exercise, meal collection, medication and a shower.
In fact, hygiene levels behind the walls have been flagged as a “high standard,” in the report.
It reads: "Prisoners are employed as cleaners on each wing.
"On the whole, they do an excellent job - wings are kept to a high standard of cleanliness.”
Inmates are allowed to study full or part time and take on work in the kitchen, building furniture recycling and needlework.
“Prisoners have produced some excellent items of needlework and take a real pride in what they do,” the report states.
Who is inside
England’s northern-most high security jail, poised on the outskirts of the village of Brasside, teems with lifers, murderers, terrorists and other high-risk prisoners.
Previously, it housed ‘Britain’s most violent prisoner’ Charles Bronson, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and doctor-turned-serial killer Harold Shipman.
Now, it is home to those Kent killers who have plumbed into the similar doldrums of notoriety as their criminal counterparts.
Metropolitan Police officer Couzens was handed a whole life tariff last September for the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, in March 2021.
The 49-year-old from Deal is believed to have used Covid-19 lockdown rules to snatch Ms Everard from the streets of Clapham, as she made her way home at night.
Couzens dumped and burned Ms Everard’s body in woods near Ashford, even taking his family to the crime scene shortly afterwards.
Former hospital worker David Fuller killed Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in ‘The Bedsit Murders’, then used access to a mortuary to sexually assault over 100 corpses.
The 67-year-old stalked and then murdered the two young women in Tunbridge Wells in 1987.
Fuller, of East Sussex, appeared to have got away with his crimes for 33 years however, he sensationally pleaded guilty to two counts of murder during a trial at Maidstone Crown Court last December.
When police raided the necrophiliac’s home they unearthed a harrowing library of the electrician videoing attacks on females aged between nine-100.
Serial killer Levi Bellfield was found guilty in 2008 of the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange, alongside the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.
Bellfield, now 53, was in 2011 also found guilty of the murder of Milly Dowler, a schoolgirl aged just 13.
The former nightclub bouncer, of London, was said to have recently confessed to the 1996 killing of mum and daughter Lin and Megan Russell, known as the Chillenden Murders.
Michael Stone has spent more than 20 years behind bars for the killings, where the Russells were tied up and attacked with a hammer in a country lane in 1996.
Following a trial Stone, of Tunbridge Wells, was handed three life sentences, and told he must spend at least 25 years in prison, making his earliest chance of release in 2023 when he will be 63.