HM Prison Low Newton

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HMP & YOI Low Newton
Location Brasside, County Durham
Security class Closed Female and Young Offender
Population 336 (as of July 2008)
Opened 1965
Managed by HM Prison Services
Governor Alan Richer
Website Low Newton at

HM Prison Low Newton is a Closed prison for female adults and young offenders. The prison is located in the village of Brasside (near Durham) in County Durham, England. Low Newton is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service. The prison is located next to HMP Frankland, the Category A adult male prison.


Low Newton Prison was originally constructed in 1965 as a mixed remand centre for 65 males and 11 females. Additional accommodation was provided in 1975 and the capacity of the centre increased to 215, though the centre was normally overcrowded. Low Newton accommodated both male and female young persons and adult women until September 1998, when a re-role refurbishment programme commenced. Since 1998 HMP Low Newton has been an all-female jail taking female prisoners from across the north of England, as well as lifers and juveniles.

In 2006 Low Newton underwent a security upgrade to become a Category A prison holding ‘restricted status’ (high risk) women.[1] Low Newton then held the remaining High Security Female prisoners transferred from HMP Durham.

In the same year an inmate from Low Newton had to be immobilised by a Taser stun-gun whilst visiting the University Hospital of North Durham. The prisoner was being treated for wounds to her thigh and groin, when she grabbed the prison officer to whom she was handcuffed. The inmate then held a pair of scissors to the throat of the officer and demanded drugs, before being stunned by the police.[2]

In February 2014 The Learning Shop, an initiative set up in the prison to improve women's mental health was closed due to lack of funding. The National Offender Management Service (NOMS), part of the Ministry of Justice, stated that similar support would still be available to prisoners.[3]

The prison today[edit]

Low Newton is an all-female maximum security prison and young offender institution. It also holds a small number of juveniles and life sentenced prisoners. Low Newton serves the courts in the catchment area from the Scottish Borders to North Yorkshire across to North Cumbria.

Low Newton is also home to the 'Primrose Project', designed to treat women with 'Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorders', the only women's prison in the United Kingdom with such a unit.[4][5]

Notable inmates[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°48′20″N 1°32′58″W / 54.80556°N 1.54944°W / 54.80556; -1.54944