Regime information for Styal Prison

Learning and Skills

The education provision at Styal is contracted out to City College Manchester via the Learning and Skills Council OLASS Project. Staff includes a full time Education Officer (prison employed), Education Manager, Deputy Manager, Education Guidance workers, main grade lecturers, part-time teachers and five Vocational Instructors.

Styal has a self-contained education department offering nationally accredited programmes in hairdressing, beauty, skills for life, computer & office skills, basic computers, art and design, individual learning, ESOL, outreach education, catering, silver service, industrial cleaning, painting & decorating, and Open University support. All courses can be accessed on a part or full time basis and mothers on the Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) can also access crèche places and then attend education.

The CALM (Care Assessment Leaning and Motivation) centre provides a therapeutic learning environment seven days a week for prisoners located on the wing. The library, provided by Cheshire County Council, is based in a self-contained unit providing a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, a range of CDs and DVDs are also available plus four computers for learning (without internet access). Prisoners produce a quarterly magazine known as ‘Innit' which received a national award for the quality of journalism in 2006.

Gymnasium and Sports

One Principal Officer and four PE officers staff the PE department, which consists of a small but well equipped gymnasium, used for a variety of team games and fitness-related activities, a stage area, which houses cardio vascular and resistance machines and a selection of free weights, and a sports field, used for a variety of activities (weather permitting).

There is a comprehensive PE programme offering an impressive range of activities focused on the women's needs. PE is offered during the core day, at weekends and four evenings per week. Information about facilities and activities is available in reception, on the First Night Centre and on residential accommodation.

The PE department offers a variety of course work predominantly aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles but also focusing on the resettlement agenda by delivering courses that lead to nationally accredited qualifications.


Styal has a number of workshops, these include Textile and Contract Services (which provides clothing and bedding for general prison service use), Painting and Decorating, Industrial Cleaning Centre, ICT Training and Resource Centre, and GILDS Silver Service.

Employment is also available in Gardens, Kitchens, Housekeeping, Estate Cleaning, Reception, Drop in Centre, Health Care Centre, Visits, Mental Health Resources Centre, CALM Centre, Support Mentors, Gymnasium and the Library.

The quality of work is generally good, activity levels are high and purposeful, and nationally recognised qualifications are obtainable in several employment areas.


There is a large chaplaincy team representing world faiths, including two full time and one part time chaplain. Regular services are held, including RC Mass, Church of England, Moslem Prayers and Buddhist Meditation, all with good attendance.


Catering is provided from a central kitchen, where pre-select menus with healthy eating and various options are available for all prisoners. Within the population, there are five self-catering units, Paterson, Nightingale, Mellanby, Fox and Acorn (MBU), where women can cook their own meals.


Contract run by Cheshire East Community Health (CECH); there is a Doctor on site everyday covering GP clinics and first night receptions. Clinic sessions cover genitor-urinary health and family planning, Nurse triage, stop smoking, bloods, independent drug treatment services, midwifery and sonography services. Once a month there is a specialist podiatry service which is arranged by referral only and a fortnightly optometrist service. In addition there is a family support worker who works with women with children who have drug and alcohol issues.

Dental services are currently available Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays until the end of June and daily from July - by appointment only at present. Consultant psychiatrist clinics and visiting counsellors are facilitated by the Mental Health In-Reach team and a day care centre deals specifically with prisoners with primary mental health problems.

All prisoners receive a health screen on admission to prison within 24 hours. The Mental Health In Reach team then carry out an assessment within 48 hours of admission on the First Night Centre. Health Care Forums are held to give prisoners the opportunity to influence the future shape of health care at Styal and to enable them to contribute to healthcare delivery.

Drugs Strategy

The prison has close links with the local Drug and Alcohol Action Teams, particularly in Manchester. The establishment provides a short duration drugs programme as well as the enhanced thinking skills programme. Both of these courses are accredited and their introduction has coincided with a shift in local policy, which has seen women maintained on therapeutic doses of methadone. This policy has culminated in a radical and sustained reduction in the amount of illicit drug use reflected in the mandatory drug testing positive rate reducing to 4.7%. This has been achieved against a background of an institution where around 80% of the women who enter Styal are poly drug users. Social visitors are searched before entry into the prison is allowed. Visitors found in possession of controlled drugs face prosecution.


Styal is proactive in supporting families to maintain contact. Mothers with children up to the age of 18 months may be eligible to live in a dedicated Mother and Baby Unit (MBU), and take part in programmes to support the development of their child. Admission onto the unit is by prior application and vetting supported by a multi-agency admission board. The MBU is run by the Action for Children Charity. Mothers with older children will be encouraged to keep contact through special events and family days. Mediation helps with problems with wider family relationships and there is an ongoing programme of ‘parenting skills'.

HM Prison Service


Get email alerts
Find a form
Find a court form