HM Prison Winchester

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HMP Winchester
Winchester Prison - - 2875357.jpg
HM Prison Winchester
Location Winchester, Hampshire
Security class Adult Male/Category B
Capacity 706 (as of April 2013) [1]
Population 685 [2] (as of February 2014)
Opened 19th century
Managed by HM Prison Service
Governor David Rogers
Website Winchester at

HM Prison Winchester is a Category B men's prison, located in Winchester, Hampshire, England. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.


There has probably been a prison in Winchester, mainly known as Winchester gaol, since the thirteenth century.[3]

Winchester Prison was built to a Victorian radial design, with five 'spokes' radiating from a central hub. Four of these are used for prisoner accommodation and one for administration.

Between 1900 and 1963, 16 executions took place at the prison. The last was that of Dennis Whitty, convicted of capital murder at Cornwall Assizes, and hanged on 17 December 1963.

In 1995 serial killer Rosemary West, wife of Fred West, was held in Winchester on remand for the duration of her trial in Winchester Crown Court. Each day she was driven from her specially built unit within the male segregation block half a mile down the road to the court.[4]

In December 2001, a convicted murderer escaped from Winchester Prison by scaling the wall. The prisoner went on the run after using a home-made handsaw to saw through the bars of his ground floor cell window. He then used a rope and grappling hook to scale the 30-feet wall of the prison. The prisoner was recaptured days later.[5]

In August 2003, a Prison Reform Trust report stated that overcrowding at Winchester Prison was an ongoing problem. 54.7% of prisoners were sharing cells which were designed for one person. There had also been 3 suicides at the jail in the previous year.[6]

In April 2005, an inspection report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons stated that Winchester Prison was overcrowded and prisoners did not have enough work to do. The report also said that vulnerable inmates were not well protected and relations between staff and prisoners were not good. However, the report praised prisoner resettlement and improvements in healthcare at the jail.[7]

The Inspectorate was still dissatisfied with Winchester at their inspection in 2010, stating that staff were unnecessarily rude and that prisoners spent too long in their cells with nothing to do. The team was especially critical of the discrimination that occurred between the West Hill annexe and the main prison in terms of employment and purposeful activity.[8]

The prison today[edit]

Winchester is a Category B prison for adult males. The prison is currently undergoing major refurbishment with a build programme lasting 5 years. Work already completed includes changes to the health care, first night and detoxification centres, as well as a new electrical system, renewal of the fire and general alarms, a new visits complex and pedestrian access at the main gate. The rebuilding of C wing, that was suffering from age decay, was completed in 2008 and the first prisoners were moved into the new cells in October 2008.

The Prison has 4 wings. The first being "A" Wing that was supposed to house induction inmates for their 1st night but has since turned into a permanent wing. "B" Wing is the biggest wing which is mainly there for remanded prisoners. "C" wing is the drug detox wing and houses prisoners that are there with drug issues mainly. "D" is the vulnerable prisoner wing and houses prisoners that are a threat to themselves or other prisoners. E wing is used for offices. There is a category C offshoot called "Westhill" which has 3 wings. "Alfred", "Temple" and "Wykham". There is also a D Cat offshoot called "The Herne" which has 40 cells all single.

By December 2010, the Prison offered a limited selection of Freeview channels to all cells.

The Regime at HMP Winchester claims to deliver an average of 22 hours of Purposeful Activity per prisoner per week. However, this is regularly disputed by inspection reports[9] and prisoners themselves.

Education at the prison is provided through Manchester College, and is available irrespective of academic ability, but only limited courses are available to prisoners segregated under Prison Rule 45. Other facilities include a prison gym.

Notable former inmates[edit]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "Winchester Prison". Winchester Prison Information. HM Prison Service. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Report on an announced inspection of HMP Winchester" (PDF). HM Inspectorate of Prisons. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Brinkman, Barrie. "Weeke local History - Winchester Prison". 
  4. ^ a b "Winchester waits for West trial invasion". The Independent. 1995-09-24. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  5. ^ "Escaped prisoner found". 15 December 2001. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  6. ^ "Jail overcrowding 'ongoing problem'". 13 August 2003. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  7. ^ "Under-fire jail criticised again". 5 April 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  8. ^ "Report on an unannounced short follow-up inspection of HMP Winchester (13–16 September 2010) by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons" (PDF). Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons. 13–16 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  9. ^ "Report on an Announced inspection of HMP Winchester" (PDF). 20 April 2005. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  10. ^ Norman Gaudie, extract from The courage that brings peace (1922), online at, accessed 19 October 2014
  11. ^ "There were times I'd hold officers back and let the prisoners just get on with it". North East Chronicle. 2005-03-26. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  12. ^ "Basil Bunting Poetry Centre : Basic Bunting - A Basic Chronology - Durham University". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°03′47″N 1°19′41″W / 51.063°N 1.328°W / 51.063; -1.328