Britain Plans to Shutter Older Prisons Possibly in Favor of 2,000-person ‘Super Prison’

Among those prisons scheduled to be closed is HMP Shepton Mallet in Somerset, the UK’s oldest operating prison. Also known as Cornhill, Shepton Mallet began operating in 1625 after an Act of King James I requiring every county to have a house to keep criminals. The prison was described as having extremely poor sanitation in a report to Parliament in 1773. It was closed in 1930 and used during World War II by both the American and British militaries. It resumed civilian use in 1966. In addition to the new super prison plan, smaller prisons were also proposed, called houseblocks. The announcement by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) comes days after the revealing of a plan to privatize some portions of the criminal justice system.