Comprehensive Guide to Female Prisons in the UK

Prison Info

Welcome to our comprehensive guide about female prisons in the UK. This complete directory should assist you to broaden your knowledge regarding the lawful spheres connected with female incarceration.

Female Prisons in the UK
There are thirteen female prisons functioning in England. The Ministry of Justice administrates these. We have listed each one, along with some helpful information to understand them better:

  1. Bronzefield:
    Located in Ashford, Surrey, Bronzefield is the largest female prison in Europe. It is run privately by Sodexo Justice Services.
  2. Downview:
    In Sutton, Downview reopened in 2016, after being repurposed to accommodate female prisoners.
  3. Durham:
    Previously a male prison, Durham’s H-wing now serves female inmates.
  4. Eastwood Park:
    It is based in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire providing a mother and baby unit.
  5. Foston Hall:
    Located in Derbyshire, it started as a female prison in 1997.
  6. Holloway:
    Based in London, Holloway prison has now permanently closed, but its influence on female incarceration continues.
  7. Low Newton:
    Low Newton, located in Durham, covers the North East of England.
  8. New Hall:
    Based in Wakefield, it provides a mother and baby unit.
  9. Peterborough:
    Peterborough manages both male and female inmates, the latter accommodated in HMP Peterborough’s female wing.
  10. Send:
    Located in Woking, Send hosts female prisoners serving long term sentences.
  11. Styal:
    Based in Cheshire, it uniquely offers cottages designed for a family-style living arrangement for inmates.
  12. Askham Grange:
    Located in Yorkshire, is an open prison for females and also provides a mother and baby unit.
  13. Drake Hall:
    Based in Staffordshire, it houses both remand and sentenced prisoners.

Rights of Women Prisoners

The rights of female inmates differ slightly due to their distinctive needs. Key rights include:

  • The right to secure, safe, and clean accommodation.
  • The privilege to healthcare equivalent to the public NHS.
  • The right to contact family and friends via letters, visits, and under certain conditions, phone calls.
  • The right to a healthy diet and exercise.
  • The privilege to education, work, and life skill training.
  • The right to be fairly rewarded for work.
  • The right to practise religion freely.
  • The privilege for pregnant women to receive prenatal and postnatal care.
  • The right to retain personal property, within reason.

UK law: Female Prisoners with Babies

In the UK, pregnant prisoners have the privilege to be temporarily released and later return to prison without their babies. If a mother selects to take her baby into custody with her, several prisons provide mother and baby units. These units have nursery facilities, allowing mothers and babies to bond in protective, homely surroundings.

Counselling and Support

Female offenders often have a history of abuse and victimisation, leading to a high need for mental health care. All female prisons offer psychological support services. Moreover, specific programmes are in place to deal with issues such as self-harm, depression, and substance addiction.

Rehabilitation and Reintegration Efforts

The core aim of imprisonment is not just punishment but also rehabilitation. Inmate training and employment programmes prepare women for their release and support their successful reintegration into society.

To better understand the prison system and the effort it places on rehabilitating female prisoners, one must delve into the specifics of each facility. We hope this guide has been insightful, offering an overview of female prisons in the UK and the laws foreign to them.

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