These pictures of prisoners in The Verne prison on Portland give us a glimpse of life in prison in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Verne Citadel was transformed into a prison after the Criminal Justice Act of 1948. The first prisoners arrived in February 1949, and by 1977, around 500 prisoners were serving their sentences there.

Scroll down to see pictures of the prison and its prisoners in the 1980s and 1990s.

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In 1990, 85 men were serving life sentences at The Verne - these are four of them

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1997: The education block at the Verne Prison

Since its inception, the prison has offered various training and educational programmes. Courses offered to prisoners including bricklaying, plastering, painting and decorating, along with the chance to study for qualifications in carpentry, catering, and industrial cleaning.

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1992: Inmates are offered the chance to take part in artbased activities

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1992: each inmate is allocated an inidividual room in the accommodation block

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1996: Unit manager Principle Officer Julian Slade interviews an inmate in the voluntary testing unit

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1997: An inmate reads in one of the prison’s accommodation blocks

Sports facilities within the grounds include a gymnasium, sports field and tennis courts, and a Jailhouse Café was opened in 2011.

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Accommodation blocks (right) and workshops inside the prison grounds​

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1988: The Chapel inside the prison serves as a place for inmates to pray

In 2013, it was announced that The Verne would be used as an immigration removal centre to house 600 detainees awaiting deportation from the UK. Existing prisoners were transferred to other prisons and the first detainees arrived in March 2014. Four years later, the centre was closed and the building reopened as a prison for men convicted of a sex offence.

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(L to R) Ken Jones, Maurice, Andrew and Stephen aim to be involved in the self-policing project at the prison, 1996

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1997 saw the construction of a new fence surrounding the prison grounds

The first few decades of the prison’s life saw a substantial number of escapees. The first was David Connor, who went missing two months after the institution opened: he was recaptured near Wareham later the same day.

In December 1955, inmate John Hannan escaped just one month into his sentence. After being convicted of car theft and assault, Hannan used knotted sheets to scale the prison wall and passed along the rail line tthe mainland. Never recaptured, Hannan remains the most successful fugitive in the world, having been on the run for more than 60 years.