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HMP WOODHILL Prison Regime Info


Tattenhoe Street Milton Keynes MK4 4DA image of HMP WOODHILL prison

Phone No.

01908 722 000

Governor / Director

Nigel Smith


High Security


South Central

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy

Single and double cells

Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Mary-Anne Dixey
Vice Chair: Eve Barrett

Visitor Info Page

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Online Library documents for HMP WOODHILL

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Opened July 1992, with a new unit added in April 1996. Woodhill is a category A prison and in 1998 one wing was re-designated as a close supervision centre, which holds a small number of prisoners who are among the most difficult and disruptive in the prison system.

The regime at Woodhill includes full-time and part-time classes. These include offending behaviour groups and courses on; enhanced thinking skills, drug management, developing your potential, relationships, life skills, and specific drugs life skills and development courses for young offenders. Other features include a Job Club, and listener schemes.



House units 1–4 are divided into two wings:
A and B. Each wing is designed to hold 60 prisoners in single cells. Some of these cells have been converted into doubles.
House unit 5 is a more recent addition, with 51 cells, all doubles.
House unit 6 has five wings, four of which are occupied, and holds the CSC and MCBS prisoners as well as those subject to the national protected witness scheme.
The First Night Centre: houses all new prisoners for their first few days in custody before moving to the induction unit.
House unit 1: has the induction unit on 1B, with a mix of remand and convicted prisoners on 1A.
House units 2 and 3: accommodate a mix of remand and convicted prisoners.
House unit 4A: holds a mix of remand and convicted prisoners.
House unit 4B: is the vulnerable prisoner (VP) unit.
House unit 5: is the dedicated drug stabilisation unit.

Reception Criteria:


Cat A Core Local, serving both Crown and Magistrates Courts.



Hobbies kits
In-cell power
Playstation (Enhanced only)
Television (£1 per week)

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Mon-Thu: 08:00-11:30, 14:00-16:30 and 18:00-19:00

Weekend: 08:30-11:00 & 14:00-16:00


The prison splits into 2 parts. These are A and B with the appropriate wing numbers.

All 'A' areas have association/unlock each afternoon from 14.00 to 16.45 and an extra hour on two alternate weekdays between 18.00 and 19.00.

All B areas have association/unlock each morning from 8.00 to 10.45 and an extra hour on the opposite two alternative nights between 18.00 and 19.00.

During the morning or afternoon sessions prisoners have to complete their leisure activities including gym, library visits or exercise.

There is no additional time out on Fridays - the alternative days are Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday.

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  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Business Studies
  • Circuit Training
  • Family Relationships
  • Football
  • Light Circuit Training
  • Over 45s
  • Personal Development
  • Prepare For Work
  • Remedial
  • Soft Tennis
  • Studio (cycling)
  • Volleyball
  • Weight Loss Programme
  • Weight Training


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Mon - Thurs; 09:00 - 16:15

Fri; 09:00 - 12:00

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Every prison has a Chaplaincy department, Woodhill Chaplaincy is managed by a Co-ordinating Chaplain and supported by an Administration Officer other Chaplains and ‘Sessional Chaplains’ (faith leaders who visit for specific services or sessions). The Chaplaincy is considered an important part of the prison structure. When a prisoner arrives at a prison they are usually seen by a Chaplain within 24 hours and are invited to register as a specific religion (if they haven’t already done so) and can change their declared religion at any time. Chaplains check on the prisoner's well-being and inform them of any faith specific activities they may wish to attend.

The Chaplaincy does far more than just pastoral care; they may take part in Sentence Planning and are available as a ‘listening ear’ and are able, sometimes, to help with domestic problems. Most Chaplaincies run various courses and activities which may or may not have a religious theme. Every prisoner has the right to follow their religious practices and attend Chapel for services pertaining to their declared faith (even when segregated).

The Chaplaincy are able to organise faith activities for all main religions (as recognised by the Prison Service; this does not, at present include Rastafarian as a permissible religion, though prisoners can observe such a faith privately) and contact faith representatives to visit individual or groups of prisoners for the purpose of religious activities. The chaplaincy can also intercede on matters of religious dress, diet and artefacts. A full list of permitted artefacts can be found in the Glossary Section under Religious Artefacts.

At Woodhill there is also a Resettlement Chaplain who works specifically on the Families and Children's Pathway of Reducing Re-Offending. Among other things, this involves the provision of Storybook Dads enabling a prisoner to record a story for their child or children and also liaising with the New Leaf mentoring scheme which helps ex-offenders with their resettlement.

You can contact the Chaplaincy by letter or by telephoning the main prison number and asking to speak to the Chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy works as part of the prison and cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality (they can explain this to you in detail). Prisoners can contact the Chaplaincy in person or by Application.

Chaplaincy Statement of Purpose (HMPS)
The Chaplaincy is committed to serving the needs of prisoners, staff and religious traditions by engaging all human experience. We will work collaboratively, respecting the integrity of each tradition and discipline. We believe that faith and the search for meaning directs and inspires life, and are committed to providing sacred spaces and dedicated teams to deepen and enrich human experience. We contribute to the care of prisoners to enable them to lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.

The Co-ordinating Chaplain at Woodhill is: Alan Hodgetts who is a Church of England priest and also the Official Prisoner Visitor Liaison Officer.

There is also a full time Roman Catholic Chaplain and a Muslim Chaplain.

The Resettlement Chaplain is a Church of England priest.

The department is also supported by several part-time/sessional chaplains who provide valuable teaching and opportunities for minority faith prisoners to meet for worship. Currently these chaplains are Buddhist, Christian, Hindu. Jewish, Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Pagan, Sikh and Quaker.

Full-time Anglican and Catholic Chaplains: Full time Imam. Part-time Methodist Chaplain.

Woodhill has a multi-faith Chaplaincy designed to give the widest possible spiritual and pastoral care to the prisoners and staff. All the Chaplaincy staff, of whatever faith or denomination, is at the service of the entire establishment and may be called upon for assistance by anyone at any time.


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Prison Healthcare is now commissioned by NHS England:
NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT
Tel: 0300 311 22 33
Link: How to make a complaint:
Complaints about Healthcare should be made first through the formal internal complaints system
There are seven Commissioning Trusts for ‘Offender Health’
East Midlands
East of England
Kent & Medway
North East
South West
Thames Valley
Yorkshire & Humber
Healthcare at this prison is commissioned by:
East Midlands Health & Justice Commissioning
(hosted by Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Area Team)
Primary care Provider:
Central and Northwest London Foundation Healthcare Trust
Stephenson House, 75 Hampstead Road, London NW1 2PL
Tel: 020 314 5700
Provider of Physical Health Care
Central and Northwest London Foundation Healthcare Trust
Provider of Mental Health Care
Central and Northwest London Foundation Healthcare Trust

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The Manchester College
The Manchester College, Offender Learning Directorate, Fielden Compus, Burlow Manor Road M1 3HB
Tel: 0800 068 8585

Career Information & Advice Services (CIAS)
Tribal Education Ltd
Head office: 87-91 Newman Street, London W1T 3EY
Tel: 020 7323 7100

Classes include;

Basic Education
Computer Studies
Creative Writing
Key Skills
Life and Social Skills
Open University


OFSTED inspect education establishments from schools to colleges to prisons. They inspect education facilities within prisons and have inspected HMP Woodhill

Last Inspection Date: 04/11/2008
To read their report click here

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Prison Workshops
the IMB say;
A major design fault when HMP Woodhill was commissioned was the lack of sufficient and dedicated buildings for workshops to occupy prisoners. Although additional accommodation has been made available, it remains well below what is required for the population.”

Employment includes;

  • Gardening
  • Industrial Cleaning
  • Kitchens
  • Main Laundry
  • Mosaics Workshop
  • Orderlies
  • PICTA Workshop
  • Recycling
  • Waste Management
  • Wing Laundry
  • Wing Workers
  • Woodwork Shop

Woodhill has Open College Network accredited courses in gardening and Horticulture and, in Industrial Cleaning, prisoners can gain the Cleaning Operators' Proficiency Certificate - stages 1 & 2, and Food Premises Hygiene Certificate.

Learning aims recorded for Skills Funding Agency OLASS
Adult Literacy
Adult Literacy (Entry 1, 2 and 3)
Adult Numeracy
Basic ESOL Course, Entry Level
Basic Literacy Course, Entry Level
Basic Literacy Course, Level 1
Basic Literacy Course, Level 2
Basic Numeracy Course, Entry Level
Basic Numeracy Course, Level 1
Basic Numeracy Course, Level 2
Certificate for IT Users (CLAiT Plus)
Certificate for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Construction Skills Certification Scheme
Diploma for IT Users (CLAiT Plus)
Diploma for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Food Safety in Catering (QCF)
Functional Skills English (QCF)
Functional Skills Information and Communication Technology (QCF)
Functional Skills Mathematics (QCF)
Health and Safety in the Workplace
Key Skills in Application of Number - level 1
Key Skills in Communication - level 1
Key Skills in Communication - level 2
Key Skills in Improving Own Learning and Performance
Key Skills in Information and Communication Technology - Level 1
Key Skills in Information and Communication Technology - Level 2
Key Skills in Working with Others
Non-externally certificated - Level 2, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15), PW A
NQF - Level 1, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW A
NQF - Level 2, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
NQF - Level 3, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
OCN Entry Level, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Entry Level, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Entry Level, PW E, Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care (SSA 3)
OCN Level 1, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 1, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 1, PW D, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 1, PW E, Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care (SSA 3)
OCN Level 1, PW E, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 2, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 2, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 2, PW D, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 2, PW E, Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care (SSA 3)
OCN Level 2, PW E, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 3, PW B, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 3, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
Practical skills/crafts, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6)
Theory Grade 1
Theory Grade 2
Theory Grade 3

Word Processing (Beginners)


Current wage for employed

£1.25 per session

Wage for retired / long term sick

£3.25 per week


£1.25 per session

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Courses include;

Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS)

Drug Management

Developing your Potential


Life skills

and specific drugs life skills and development courses for young offenders.

The CARAT programme aims to provide a quick and co-ordinated means of identifying prisoners who have a drug problem.


The Carats team will assess prisoners; provide on-going support and referral to outside agencies.

HMP Woodhill has a successful Detox programme providing help and support to prisoners visiting to get themselves clean of drugs and remain drug free. The Detox centre uses a variety of methods varying from prescription of suitable medication, auricular acupuncture, yoga, education and group therapy.

Voluntary Drug Testing: Any prisoner at Woodhill can volunteer to sign a Voluntary Drug Testing Compact, which means that he receives regular and frequent drug tests. Many prisoners do so in order to help them resist the temptation of using drugs and/or:

HMP Woodhill has a dedicated drug free unit, House Unit 3. The aim of House Unit 3 is to provide a drug free environment and a constructive regime for prisoners, in order to support them as they strive to remain drug free.

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HMP Woodhill has a multi – disciplinary Resettlement team, made up of Probation staff, Prison officers and Voluntary agencies, including Citizens Advice Bureau, Job Centre, Prisons Advice and Care Trust, Careers Enterprise and Revolving Doors. The Resettlement department aims to address issues that may obstruct an effective return to the community as a law-abiding citizen.

Probation Services:

Probation officers working in Woodhill prison are seconded for periods of 3-5 years from Thames Valley Probation Service. They currently employ 1x Senior Officer, 5x Probation officers and 7x Probation Service Officers.

Probation officers provide advice and support to personal officers and caseworkers. The probation officers are not based on the wings, and their knowledge of individual prisoners may be limited unless they are involved in one of the specified tasks with that prisoner.


Family Days Available


Guardian Has To Stay


Own Children




Age Limits

Baby to 16 years

No of Visitors Permitted

1 adult and any number of children who fit the criteria

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Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for this prison: 3
This is on a scale from 1 (serious concerns) to 4 (Exceptional) and is worked out by the Ministry of Justice taking into account 34 criteria such as overcrowding, purposeful activities etc. A score of 3 is considered a good performance. Published quarterly.

Average weekly hours of Purposeful Activity: 20.2 (2010)
This figure is supplied by each prison to the Prison Service. Actual hours are usually dependent on activities etc. and should be taken as the maximum time either in workshops or education over a whole week.
Both of these figures are published retrospectively by the MoJ and HMPS and may have changed since the figures were published but they give a simple comparison between prisons.

Annual Budget: £31,900,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £62,175
*The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.

Parliamentary Information
CONSTITUENCY: Milton Keynes South
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Iain Stewart (Conservative)

Prisoners may write to either their ‘Home MP’ or the MP in whose constituency their current prison lies.
The address to write to is:
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA


Contractors, Agencies and Voluntary Organisations working within the prison

  • Age UK
  • Aramark –Kitchen contract
  • BACO Buckinghamshire Association for the Care of Offenders
  • Careers Advice Service
  • Central North West London NHS Trust – Healthcare
  • Chaplaincy volunteers
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • DHL - Canteen
  • Lead Psychiatrists (MHIT and CSC)
  • Milton Keynes City College – Education contract
  • New Leaf
  • Oxford NHS Foundation Trust
  • Pact (Prisoners Advice and Care Trust)
  • Police Liaison
  • Prison Me No Way
  • Probation Service
  • Red Cross
  • Samaritans
  • St. Giles Trust
  • Stonham, who deliver the Bail Accommodation and Support Service (BASS).
  • Tribal
  • Westminster Drug Project



Most prisons now have PIN phones. Your relative or friend usually needs to apply to have your name and number on his/her telephone account. You will usually receive a call from the prison to check who you are and to ensure you are happy for them to call you. Prisoners cannot receive telephone calls.

There is no restriction on who prisoners can call except in the case of calls to journalists intended to be broadcast. In some cases child protection measures may mean extra checks on who they call.

Prisoners can normally make calls only during ‘association’ periods. Some prisons limit the length of time a call can last to avoid queues and people being disappointed. Prisoners’ telephone calls are very expensive; calls to landlines now cost 10p per minute and 37.5 p to mobiles (compared to 2p in a public phone box). In most prisons the phone calls can be listened to and/or recorded.

If a prisoner is newly convicted or transferred they should be offered an immediate ‘Reception’ phone call to tell you where they are. It may take a few days for numbers to be transferred or added.

When you write to a prisoner you must include your full name and address. In most prisons the letters are searched and can be read before being given to the prisoner.

You can write about anything but letters must not be obscene, name ‘victims’, or be a threat to discipline or security. Do not enclose any items with letters. Make sure you put sufficient postage to cover the costs (anything bigger than A5 counts as ‘large’). Prisoners can normally receive a ‘reasonable’ number of letters per week.

If you send greetings cards these should be of reasonable size and not padded or pouched. Do not send musical cards. If you are sending more than one card put them all inside one outer envelope, this saves postage. Remember to include your full details (you could put your details on a ‘Post-It’ note stuck to the card or include a letter which has your details).

Always put the prisoner’s full name and prison number. If the person has been moved their mail will be forwarded.

On conviction or transfer a prisoner should be given a ‘Reception’ letter to write to tell you where they are.

Prisoners are given a free letter each week to post out, they can send more, but at their own expense. Some prisons allow you to send in stamps.

You can usually send in photographs but in some prisons these must not include any image of the prisoner. Child protection measures may mean that some prisoners may not receive pictures of children, unless they are their own and were not ‘victims’. If you send pictures of children include an explanatory note identifying who the children are and their relationship to the prisoner.

It is not a good idea to send cash, this can get ‘lost’ in the prison. Prisons prefer postal orders, but you could send a cheque. Make these payable to ‘H M Prison Service’, write your name on the back and also the prisoner’s full name and prison number. Any money sent which is deemed to be ‘anonymous’ can be stopped.
Money you send is paid into the prisoner’s ‘Private Cash’ account and they get access to a certain amount (depending upon IEP) each week [currently £15.50 for Standard prisoners].

For full information about visits please refer to our ‘Visit Info’ section for this prison. Visits are very important to prisoners. At most prisons you may not give any item to the prisoner. Any items you wish to give them must usually be posted to the prison, and often after the prisoner has placed an ‘application’ for authorisation to have it sent in. The items which can be posted in are very limited. Check with the prisoner first and wait until they confirm that you can post it.

If there is a serious emergency - close family serious illness, death, or other reason you need to inform the prisoner immediately, you should telephone the main prison number and explain the problem to the operator who will transfer you to the appropriate person. If you are unhappy about their response redial and ask to speak to the Chaplaincy. Prison staff will not pass on general messages but only critical and very urgent messages. You should provide full details of the prisoner including their number.

Support and Advice
There are many very good charities and agencies who offer support and advice to people with family or friends in prison. We have a special section ‘Help/Support’ which has details and contact information for many of these. Do not hesitate or feel shy about calling any of these; they are there to offer support and advice.

This service operates at this prison. Email a Prisoner enables you to send messages to prisoners, in the UK and Irish prisons that operate the service, from any computer, without any of the hassles of writing and posting a letter, and it costs less than a second class stamp!

Your message is delivered to the prison within seconds so that it can be delivered to the prisoner by the prison staff in the next delivery.

It is free to sign up to Email a Prisoner and only takes a few seconds - all you need is an email address (EMaP can help you if you don't have an email address).

Once a member you will be able to send a message to any prisoner in the UK or Ireland, provided you know their prisoner number, from just 25 pence per message.

Click Here for link to Email a Prisoner website


Story Book Dads/Mums
Story Book Dads/Mums operates at this prison.
The imprisoned parent records a story and a message which is then edited and enhanced using digital audio software and editors remove mistakes and add sound effects and music. Finally a CD is made, a personalised cover created, and the finished disc sent to the child. The whole service is free.

Click Here for more information


Prison Video Link (PVL)
All prisons with video link facilities have at least one courtroom and two briefing rooms where the defendant can hold a conference with their solicitor before and, if required, after their court hearing.

If court hearings are not taking place it may be possible for solicitors, barristers and Probation Officers to hold interviews with a prisoner via video link to save having to visit the prison.

The facility is also available to assist the Parole Board in dealing with oral hearings.
It should be noted however that court hearings must take priority.

At other times, operational reasons may mean bookings are refused or cancelled at short notice.

To book the Video Link facility telephone: 01908 722000 ext 2133

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP)

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons for England and Wales (HMI Prisons) is an independent inspectorate which reports on conditions for, and treatment of, those in prisons, young offender institutions and immigration detention facilities. They provide independent scrutiny of the conditions for and treatment of prisoners and other detainees, promoting the concept of 'healthy prisons' in which staff work effectively to support prisoners and detainees to reduce reoffending or achieve other agreed outcomes.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) is appointed from outside the Prison Service, for a term of five years. The Chief Inspector reports to Ministers on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons in England and Wales.

The Inspectorate’s programme of inspection is based on a mixture of chronology and risk assessment. Full inspections run on a five or three year cycle; all unannounced follow-up inspections run on a risk-assessed basis.

Full inspections
Prison establishments holding adults and young adults are inspected once every five years. Establishments holding juveniles are inspected every three years. This type of inspection lasts for at least one week. The Inspectorate collects information from many sources, including the people who work there, the people who are imprisoned or detained there, and visitors or others with an interest in the establishment. Inspection findings are reported back to the establishment’s managers. Reports are published within 16 weeks of inspection. The establishment is then expected to produce an action plan, based on the recommendations made within the report, within a short period following publication.

Full follow-up inspections
Follow-up inspections are unannounced and proportionate to risk. In full follow-up inspections inspectors assess progress made and undertake in-depth analysis of areas of serious concern identified in the previous full inspection, particularly on safety and respect.

Short follow-up inspections
Short follow-up inspections are also unannounced and conducted where the previous full inspection and their intelligence systems suggest that there are comparatively fewer concerns.

Escort inspections
Three escort inspections are conducted every year.

Pre-inspection visit
One month prior to each full announced inspection, an inspector will visit the establishment to plan the inspection and request a range of preliminary information. In addition, researchers will attend to conduct a confidential survey of a representative proportion of the prisoner population. Results from the prisoner survey are provided for inspectors prior to the inspection and constitute an important source of evidence.

The inspection
All inspections are conducted against the Inspectorate's published inspection criteria, 'Expectations'. Expectations' are based on international human rights standards, as well as Prison Service Orders and Standards, and over all issues considered essential to the safe, respectful and purposeful treatment of prisoners in custody and their effective resettlement.
'Expectations' is the document which sets out the detailed criteria HMI Prisons uses to appraise and inspect prisons. These criteria are used to examine every area of prison life, from reception to resettlement, including;

• safer custody
• health services
• good order
• work
• diversity
• resettlement

The concept of a healthy prison is one that was first set out by the World Health Organisation, but it has been developed by this Inspectorate, and is now widely accepted as a definition of what ought to be provided in any custodial environment. It rests upon four key tests:

• safety: prisoners, even the most vulnerable, are held safely
• respect: prisoners are treated with respect for their human dignity
• purposeful activity: prisoners are able, and expected, to engage in activity that is likely to benefit them
• resettlement: prisoners are prepared for release into the community, and helped to reduce the likelihood of reoffending

Post-inspection action
Inspection reports are published within 16 weeks of the inspection. Prior to publication, the Prison Service (or whoever is responsible for the establishment) is invited to correct any factual inaccuracies within the report. The establishment is then expected to produce an action plan, based on the recommendations made in the report, within two months of publication. A progress report on the action plain is produced after a further 12 months.


Last Inspection by HMCIP: 3–13 January 2012 Unannounced full inspection by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Published: June 2012

Segregation usage was low but use of force was high and the use of special accommodation was excessive.

They said:
“Woodhill is one of the more complex establishments in the prison system and a significant management challenge. As one of three core local prisons in the high security estate, Woodhill combines a normal local prison function serving courts in the South East Midlands with an additional responsibility holding high risk and category A prisoners, many either unconvicted or only recently convicted. Added to this, on house unit 6, the prison has a number of smaller more specialist facilities, including two protected witness units and two close supervision centres holding some of the country’s most disruptive prisoners.

“ Recent inspections acknowledged the prison’s success in managing these competing pressures: in maintaining a proportionate approach to the very real challenges of security at this prison and in ensuring reasonable standards of safety and respect. Our principle criticism was the lack of sufficient activity to occupy prisoners. This inspection found, to a great extent, that the situation remained much the same.

“ The prison had solid systems in place to tackle bullying and violence and few prisoners reported feeling unsafe. Vulnerable prisoners, in contrast, expressed more qualified views about their safety, which was not helped by the weak induction arrangements they experienced. Risk assessments for young adult prisoners located on the vulnerable prisoner wing and more generally around the establishment needed to be more robust. The prison continued to successfully manage the balance between the security requirements of the high risk minority without needlessly impacting on regime outcomes for the majority. Segregation usage was low but use of force was high and the use of special accommodation was excessive. In both situations management supervision needed to improve and specific incidents required further enquiry.

“ The number of self-harm incidents had risen considerably over the previous 12 months and we sensed a lack of focus in addressing this trend. A number of procedures aimed at supporting those in crisis were just adequate and there was evidence that some prisoners were unnecessarily subject to suicide and self-harm processes rather than being supported with alternative measures.

“ The quality of accommodation generally at Woodhill was among the best in the estate and relationships across the prison continued to be a strength. The close supervision centre (CSC) was, however, concerning: A wing, for example, essentially constituted a locked down regime despite being described as an assessment facility. Risk assessments and unlock protocols meant that prisoners were usually only unlocked singly and under heavy supervision. We were not fully assured about all aspects of these risk assessments or that adequate quality assurance and safeguards were in place.

“ Equality was well promoted and there were useful initiatives concerning nearly all the various strands of diversity. Most prisoners however, expressed negative perceptions about the quality of health care. Access to some services was reasonable but staff shortages had impacted delivery. Primary mental health provision was inadequate and there were long delays in transferring patients to mental health hospitals. We also had concerns about the accessibility of mental health services for those held in the CSC.

“ A structural problem at Woodhill remained the lack of sufficient activity to occupy prisoners. More places had become available since we last visited but we still found about half of the population not engaged in any purposeful activity. The provision of vocational training was limited and had reduced since our last inspection and the education places on offer were underused. The quality of learning and skills generally was just satisfactory but the reasonable amounts of time out of cell mitigated some of the worst effects of this situation on individual prisoners.

“ Offender management for higher risk prisoners and those who could access it was reasonably good although the profile of offender management generally in the prison needed to increase. Resettlement need was identified early among those arriving at the prison and provision across the strands and pathways that contributed to effective resettlement was reasonably good. Prisoners, however, claimed limited knowledge of the services on offer, arguably linked to the fact that too few benefitted from meaningful sentence management. Public protection arrangements also required improvement.

“ Overall this inspection describes a prison little changed from when we last inspected. The complexity of the establishment is managed reasonably well and the vast majority of prisoners are not disadvantaged because of the additional security needs of the few. The prison is stable and generally safe but more management attention is required across a number of high risk areas such as self-harm prevention, segregation and the CSC. The need to occupy the prisoners more fully and purposefully remains unaddressed.”

Nick Hardwick March 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Click Here to read the full report


Independent Monitoring Board

By law every prison and immigration removal centre must have an Independent Monitoring Board. IMBs in prisons derive their responsibilities from the Prison Act 1952 (Section 6). Prison Rules dealing with IMDs are numbers; 74 to 80

IMBs were known as ‘Boards of Visitors’ and are still referred to in the legislation under their old titles, although this is likely to change in the near future.

The Independent Monitoring Board for each establishment is made up of independent and unpaid volunteers from the local area. They monitor the day-to-day life in the establishment and ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Members have unrestricted access to all areas of the prison at all times and can talk to any prisoner they wish, out of sight and hearing of a members of staff. They visit all areas such as; kitchens, workshops, accommodation blocks, recreation areas, healthcare centre and chaplaincy.

If a prisoner or detainee has an issue that they have been unable to resolve through the usual internal channels, they can place a confidential request to see a member of the IMB. Problems might include concerns over lost property, visits from family or friends, special religious or cultural requirements, or even serious allegations such as bullying. In addition, if something serious happens at the prison, for example a riot or a death in custody, IMB members may be called in to attend and observe the way in which it is handled.

IMB members sample food, can attend adjudications and should visit people held in the segregation unit. They must also be kept informed on such issues as the use of restraints.

The IMB meets regularly, usually once per month, and has an elected Chair and Vice Chair. Members work together as a team to raise any matters of concern and to keep an independent eye on the prison.


CLICK HERE - to read the latest IMB reports for any prison.
Click on the year and then select the prison.

Information in this section has been kindly provided by the individual prison and the Ministry of Justice. This is supplemented with information from various government websites, Inspectorates and IMB reports and specialist departments within the Prison Service, government, and regional assemblies/parliaments.
Some of the data is published retrospectively: IMBs/Visiting Committees publish their reports up to 6 months after the end of the reporting period and at different times throughout the year, HMCIP publish their reports up to 6 months after the inspection. Population and performance figures are the latest published but can be considerably out of date.
Please Note: Information is constantly changing: The information on our website is regularly checked but if you have additional information, or if you believe that any of our information is incorrect or any links appear to fail please click on ‘Contact’, below.
Before acting upon any information you are advised to contact the prison directly to ensure there have been no recent changes.

Last Update: November 2014

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> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the governmentís Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didnít do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - donít let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
> Christmas Messages

About Us

About insidetime
Editorial Team

InsidePoetry Book

insidepoetry book New! Volume 5 of
insidepoetry book
is now available!

A collection of poems by prisoners of all backgrounds.

Availabe to buy from this site! Volume 1,2,3 and 4 are also still available and you can SAVE by purchasing bundles!

USP Service

USP from Inside Time

The Useful Services for Prisoners scheme from insidetime provides discounts, vouchers and other benefits from USP Group Members for Prisoners, their families and legal advisors. Click the image above to read more about it.


You can subscribe to insidetime Newspaper and get the paper each month delivered to your door!


Advertise your business or solicitors office to a highly defined target audience.

Other Publications

Inside Time has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.


Contact Us

All contact info for the Operations office and the Editorial Team.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insidetime site.

External Links

We have a number of external websites which you may be interested on our Links Page.

Social Networking


Inside Information


Everything you need to know about visiting people in prison; procedures, opening times, directions etc.

Comprehensive information about each prison regime; lock down times, facilities, healthcare etc.

*NEW* Detailed information about IRC - Immigration Removal Centres.

insideinformation Book

insideinformation book
The insideinformation book

A comprehensive guide to prisons and prison related services, designed and compiled by former prisoners.


Help and Support

Various pages of information for help and support organisations and networks for those in custody as well as recently released. Also information for friends and family.

Grants and Funding

This grants and funding pdf document aims to meet the need of prisoners and ex-offenders for accurate, up to date information on the supplementary funding available to prisoners.

Rules and Regulations

Information on rules & regulations used throughout the prison service.

Glossary of Terms

The Glossary of Prison Related Terms explains what all the acronyms and terms stand for with prison related matters. Includes links to external sites to further explain things.

Fact Sheets

We have produced many Prison Related Fact Sheets inc. Legal Fact Sheets, Parole Fact Sheets and Other related information.


Find a Solicitor

You can search our solicitor database for listings of solicitors in your area that provide the services you require.

Find a Barrister

You can search our barrister database for listings of barristers in your area that provide the services you require.

Address Finder

You can search our address database in many ways to retrieve contact information for all those elusive addresses you need in a hurry.

Prison Law pdf

This document provides details of leading training providers who offer sound professional training.

Other Publications

Inside Information has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insideinformation site.

Contact Us

Use the Contact Us Feedback form to send us suggestions, plus our address and phone numbers.



Inside Justice

insidejustice was launched in July 2010 to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Full introduction is on the insidejustice homepage

insidejustice Cases

insidejustice Articles & Reviews

insidejustice Advisory Panel Members

insidejustice Sponsors page

insidejusticecontact details