Inside Europe’s largest women’s prison where Lucy Letby could die behind bars
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Content warning: The subject matter in this article may be upsetting to some readers
Lucy Letby has received a whole life order as a sentence after being found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others.
At her sentencing Mr Justice Goss said there was 'premeditation, calculation and cunning in your actions', remarks delivered as though she was present in court as she had instead refused to be there.
A whole life order is different from a life sentence as the former has no possibility of release or even parole, they are reserved only for the most serious of crimes.
While those sentenced to life imprisonment have the possibility of being released from prison, there is never under any circumstances any such opportunity for someone with a whole life order to get out.
Letby will die behind bars, the only matter now is which prison's bars that will be.
According to the Daily Telegraph, those sentenced to life in prison serve an average of 16.5 years behind bars but there is no such possibility for Letby, who they report is likely to begin her sentence in Europe's largest women's prison.
That would be HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, where Letby has already served some time since her arrest in 2018.
According to the prison, 572 women are incarcerated there including Shauna Hoare, who murdered teenager Becky Watts in 2015, and Roshonara Choudhry, who attempted to murder MP Stephen Timms in 2010.
Serial killers Joanna Dennehy and Rose West were once incarcerated in HMP Bronzefield, but have since been transferred to other facilities.
While the prison offers rehabilitation programmes aimed at reducing reoffending rates for those who will one day be released, Letby has no such chance.
Prison expert Mark Leech told The Telegraph that Letby would be a 'restricted status' prisoner, which means she is considered high risk and the equivalent of a Category A prisoner.
He said she would be on suicide watch and spend at least the first six months of her lifelong sentence out of the general prison population.
Letby will reportedly spend that time in the hospital wing of the prison so her mental and physical health can be assessed, along with her safety away from other inmates.
After that she will be moved to a cell of her own and be allowed out for one hour a day for exercise.
She will then likely be permitted visitors as long as the police allow them and when she leaves her cell she will be accompanied by several prison officers.
Leech predicted that she could be moved to a lower security prison after around 20 years, while Professor Yvonne Jewkes explained that her safety would be a concern for prison officers as Letby would be in 'quite considerable physical danger'.