The Prisons Handbook 2023 – Contents

THE PRISONS HANDBOOK 2023 (ISBN 9781916082465), is the 1,600-page definitive annual guide to the prison system of England and Wales.
The fully revised and updated 2023 edition will be published 30th September 2022.


THE PRISONS HANDBOOK 2023 Published: 30th September 2022

ISBN 978-1-9160824-6-5

This edition is currently in pre-publication production so changes to content may occur.

Contents 2023

Foreword: Andrea Coomber QC (Hon),

     Chief Executive of The Howard League for Penal Reform

     “A Quarter of a Millennium – and What Has Changed?”

Dedication: Frances Crook OBE

     Former Chief Executive of The Howard League for Penal Reform

Concerns about conditions

Government prison estate programmes

Responses to the Government’s approach

Understanding the prison estate

England and Wales

Scotland and Northern Ireland

The HMPPS estate

Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions

Immigration Removal Centres

Secure Training Centres

Types of prison and YO institutions

Adult male prisons

Adult female prisons

Prisons for children and young adults

Prisoner categories

Types of prison


Private sector prisons

Age of the prison estate

Certified Prisoner Accommodation

Maintenance of prisons

Performance of maintenance contracts

Costs of maintenance

Investment in maintenance

Recent prison estate programmes

Simplifying and reorganising the estate

A new design for prisons

Community prisons for women

The New Prisons Programme 2021-2025

More new prison places

Adult male prisons

Women’s prisons

Map of Prison Service Establishments 2023

Governing Governors

Private Sector Prison Providers

Other UK Prison Addresses

Mark Leech Biography

Prisoner Location Service

HMPPS Contact Details

Ministry of Justice Press Office


Editorial: Mark Leech FRSA

Introduction to the 2023 Edition

MOJ Directory of Service Specifications

Glossary of Terms

Offender Management Statistics 2022



Almost 700 pages of an A-Z of Prison Service Establishments in England and Wales 2023



2.1 Early days in Custody           

2.2 Offending Behaviour Programmes

2.3 Criminal Cases Review Commission          

2.4 Requests and Complaints

2.5 Prisoner Communications  

2.6 Drugs and Alcohol in Prison

2.7 The Prison Disciplinary System

2.8 Who Can Help?

2.9 Healthcare  

2.10 Religion  

2.11 Equality: Age, Gender, Disability & Race

2.12 Social Security and Discharge Grants

2.13 Release and Recall

2.14 Indeterminate Sentences 

2.15 Women Prisoners

2.16 Young Offenders (18-21 year olds)  

2.17 Young People (15-17 year olds) 

2.18 Foreign Nationals

2.19 Disability in Prison 

2.20 Employment, Training & Skills

2.21 Work and Pay

2.22 Incentives and Earned Privileges                 

2.23 Civil Partnerships & Equal Marriage

2.24 Elderly Prisoners

2.25 Segregation

2.26 Security Categorisation



3.1 Government & Statutory Agencies



4.1 Prisoners & The Law

4.2 Covid and the Prison & YOI Rules

4.3 Prison & YOI Rules

4.4 A-Z Subject Index

4.5 Appeals

4.6 Web sites of interest


SECTION 5 – FORUM: Something to Say?

5.1 Forward Thinking: Gordon Brockington Managing Director G4S Care & Rehabilitation Services.

5.2 The Musings of a Chief Inspector: Charlie Taylor HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.

5.3 Change is coming: the mental health needs and experiences of young adults in two inner-London, remand prisons. Dr Varinder Panesar. Lead Forensic Psychologist HMP Pentonville.

5.4 Prison Medicine: On The Critical List? One health professional’s view of prison medicine – as a service user. Dr Tim Kerr.

5.5 Just Get On With It: A qualitative exploration of the health and wellbeing of prison operational managers and governor grades. Professor Karen Harrison, Lincoln University.



6.1 Introduction to the Prisons Inspectorate

6.2.1 HM Prison & Probation Service Annual Report 

6.2.2 Prison & Probation Ombudsman’s Annual Report 

6.2.3 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report Short Scrutiny Visits and Scrutiny Visits 

6.2.4 Parole Board For England & Wales Annual Report 2020/21



7.1 Parliamentary Questions 2022

7.2 Freedom of Information Questions 2022

7.3 Deaths in Prison Service Custody 1990-2022

7.4 Policy Frameworks, PSIs, PSOs – current and in force

7.5 Staff Awards & Prizes 2022

7.6 Basic Custody Screening Tool 2022




8.1 Officers – The brand new Level 3 Prison Officer Apprenticeship

8.2 Governors

8.3 Promotion – From bottom to top

8.4 HMPPS Workforce Statistics 2022

8.5 HMPPS Staff Equalities Report 2022

8.6 Pay 2022/2023


SECTION 9 – RESEARCH BRIEFINGSOver 160 research papers from Analysing Interventions for Women serving short sentences, through to Youth Custody – whatever’s next?
Dip into and out of it at your leisure – fully referenced, this section contains parliamentary information fully licensed under the Open Parliament Licence; we have done all the hard work so you don’t have to!




Every day in prisons up and down the country prisoners in prison receptions will be asking questions. What’s it like here? What are the visits like? What Gangs are there on the Wings? Is there any work available, and what are the wages like? What are the cells like? What about the food? Is it true they have a drug detox wing here? What is the doctor like? Can I see a dentist while I’m here, and is there a waiting list? When can we use the phones, and are there Family Visits? Does the prison shop use a bagging system, when do we get canteen? Are the IMB any good? Who are the IMB? Is there a church service for Muslims? When is it? Is there a gymnasium? When can we use it? Who is the Governor? What about disciplinary adjudications; are they fair? How long will I be locked up on weekdays? What about weekends? When is exercise time and how long do we get? Can we wear our own clothes in here? Do they allow play stations: what about DVDs . . . ?

NOT JUST FOR PRISONERS – Read the Background story to The Prisons Handbook
Thirty years ago when the Editor of this work was himself sitting in the prison reception at Wandsworth prison in south London he listened as similar questions flowed back and forth, suddenly realising that these were the same questions he had asked on his arrival – and would shortly be doing so again, in the prison to which he was then bound. In prison receptions across the country these questions were the only way the prisoner could discover what was in store for him (or, increasingly, for her) at a new establishment; and relatives and friends were in an even worse position. Unless they know someone who has been inside a particular prison, it is unlikely they would know anything about the place to which their loved one has been sent – the information provided on Government websites is hopelessly out of date and is renown for being completely unreliable.

Prison staff who move around the country frequently are also able to make use of the information, as are lawyers, courts, police liaison officers, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, advice workers, probation officers, penal reform groups, students, social workers and many other people whose work brings them into contact with the penal system. Providing information for our 80,000+ prisoners in England and Wales – and the half a million others who make up their families, friends, advisers and campaigners – is what The Prisons Handbook and its updating website  is all about.

*  Publication dates are always subject to change, being dependent on the printer finishing the job previous ours on time and over which we have no control!


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