In 1933, New Hall became the first prison to implement the then-experimental Open Prison system. This was seen as a potential method for dealing with the combined problems of the rising numbers of prisoners and the lack of proper employment for them. At first, the prison was populated by prisoners from HMP Wakefield who were soon due to be released, but in 1961 the prison became a Senior Detention Centre for male young offenders. It was during this time that, on some occasions, the 'Short, sharp shock' regime was introduced. In 1987 the prison was assigned to serve a different population, when it was re-designated for a second time to become a women's prison.
Currently, New Hall is a closed female local prison which holds all categories of adult female prisoners. Beside this, it caters for young offenders and juveniles who are on Detention and Training Orders. Accommodation at the prison is mainly in cells. There is a mother & baby unit, health care centre, segregation unit and some dormitories.
This prison provides full and part-time education courses for prisoners in areas such as business administration, food hygiene, literacy, numeracy and information technology, NVQHairdressing, BTEC and Art. New Hall has workshops where inmates can be given experience of assembly work, light textile work, catering and gardening. Employment and careers advice, Jobcentre Plus and Connexions are also available, The prison's governor is Diane Pellew .