HMP Belmarsh is located near the River Thames, southeast London. It is one of Britain’s most infamous high-security prisons and for nearly thirty years it’s locked up some of the country’s most dangerous convicts. From the great train robber Robbie Biggs, to Ian Huntley and the Islamic extremist Anjem Choudary, but what happens inside has remained virtually unknown with television cameras having never been granted access to film the prison until now.
In this brand new two-part ITV documentary series we see Ross Kemp, spend six months inside the walls of HMP Belmarsh. As such we gain a unique insight into the harsh realities of life behind bars at arguably the country’s most notorious jail. A place where extremists and crime lords live alongside common criminals. We see firsthand how the prison staff cope with high-profile inmates such as those listed above, the High Security Unit, a so-called prison within a prison, the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom, the effects drugs have on inmates, and how the Belmarsh institution attempts to rehabilitate inmates.
When HMP Belmarsh opened in 1991, it was the first male prison to be built in London for over 100 years. It’s a new generation of super-max jail, designed to take in criminals who are considered to be a threat to national security, including IRA terrorists. With its own dog unit and a bomb-proof tunnel that connects it to Woolwich Crown Court, HMP Belmarsh is home to over 900 prisoners but has a staff of only 120 officers.
However, amongst the violence and chaos of everyday life here Ross discovers a unique course that is designed to change the lives of some of the most dangerous offenders in the country. Although it sounds crazy this course actually puts these inmates together in the same room, rather than separating them all in the name of self-growth and entrepreneurship.
Directed by: Sasha Djurkovic
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