Buckley Hall was the fourth contracted out prison in the UK, and the first privately managed Category C establishment holding medium security prisoners. Originally a men’s prison, it changed to a closed female training prison in 2002. Three years later the decision was made to revert Buckley Hall to a male Category C prison, with the new prisoners beginning to arrive on December 5th, 2005.
It was recognised at this time that within the male prisoner population there would be a higher percentage of Muslim prisoners than had been the case when Buckley Hall had been a female establishment. An increased Muslim inmate population would require improved facilities for obligatory ablution before prayer to avoid both the otherwise inevitable water spillage and the misuse of and potential damage to basins not designed for this ablution ritual.
Buckley Hall has a diverse, multi-faith chaplaincy team providing services and support to prisoners. As a specialist manufacturer of prayer room and Wudu facilities, The Specialist Washing Company now trading as WuduMate were asked for their advice by the prison Chaplain, following recommendation by another HM Prison.
It was subsequently decided to install a WuduMate ablution appliance within the multi-faith chapel. This range of appliances are specifically designed to accommodate Wudu without spillage or waste of water, thus avoiding the health and safety issues associated with prisoners having to wash their feet in washbasins or other unsuitable receptacles. The prison facilities department also chose an electronic automatic tap unit so that water would be automatically dispensed when required, negating the need for accessories which could be easily damaged.
The chaplain at the time said that the ablution appliance had been successfully operating since installation and well received by inmates. It had negated the need to make use of unsuitable receptacles for Wudu, enabling quick and effective ablution. He thought it had proved to be a robust and secure device, ideally suited to the environment, with no cavities in which to secrete illegal items or substances. Its high-quality appearance was thought to contribute to respectful use by the inmates and he was hopeful that this would help minimise the incidence of misuse and damage in the future.