Regime information for Wakefield Prison

MP Wakefield offers a range of regime activities that encourages offenders to make the necessary changes which can help them to lead law abiding lives in custody and after release. These activities include charity work, where offenders make commissioned pieces of art, garden furniture, stained glass and model work. An accredited course in industrial cleaning (British Industrial Cleaning Science BICS) is also available for offenders. We have a successful Braille shop where offenders convert books to Braille. An excellent range of gymnasium activities are available including an afternoon session dedicated to the over 60s offenders focusing on keeping mind and body active and healthy.

The purpose built Education Department offers a wide range of learning opportunities. It focuses on the need to raise basic skills whilst also offering Open University Courses to those who wish to study at degree level. The education contractor is City College Manchester and the education programme supports the peer-led Toe-by-Toe project that encourages offenders to support their peers with literacy needs. Included in the education complex is our superbly stocked library, which provides a wide range of reading material, audio books and newspapers. Offending behaviour programmes include courses for those with substance abuse problems, sexual offending histories and a general need to enhance their thinking processes. An additional course called ‘Foundation' helps to give offenders the necessary insights they require before accessing further programmes. There is a dedicated team of staff who assess the needs of our offenders with disabilities, those who are over 60 and Foreign National offenders.

Accommodation & Facilities

There are 4 main residential units built around the Victorian style floor plan. January 2006 saw A Wing open, which completes a ten-year refurbishment of the prisons accommodation. Each wing holds approximately 185 offenders in single occupancy cells. F Wing holds refractory offenders and there is facility for up to 8 Close Supervision Centre offenders. The CSC unit offers exceptional levels of regime for the offenders housed here. Visits, gym and education can all be undertaken on the unit. All residential units have kitchens available for offenders to prepare their own meals. The Incentives and Earned Privileges system operates throughout the establishment allowing standard and enhanced offenders the opportunity of in cell TV. All offenders are subject to Mandatory Drugs Testing (MDT) and there is Voluntary Testing Arrangements (VTA) throughout the prison, which are compulsory for all offenders employed in positions of responsibility such as wing cleaners or kitchen workers.

Assessment and Intervention Centre

This is a multi-disciplinary team of staff including discipline staff, Chartered Psychologists and support grades. The team are based in purpose built centre offering 10 group rooms and 4 interview rooms, all of which are fitted with video monitoring equipment allowing constant quality control of our programme delivery. The centre offers numerous intervention programmes. These include

  • Thinking Skills Programme (TSP) including a new adapted programme
  • Core, Extended, Adapted Sex Offender Treatment Programmes (SOTP)
  • Healthy Sexual Functioning Programme (HSFP)
  • Focus (drug and alcohol treatment programme)
  • CARATs (inc relapse prevention, one to one sessions, detox referrals)
  • Auricular Acupuncture
  • Pre Release & Offender Development
  • Voluntary Drug Testing scheme

The unit also provides a wide range of Psychological services and support to the prison as a whole; this includes structured support for the Segregation Unit (F Wing), the CSC and the Health Care Centre. The unit contributes to Sentence Planning Meeting Review Boards which now have more focus on addressing and individuals' needs and managing risk.

Prison Shop

DHL provides a service to all offenders who can order items from a shopping list, including fresh produce, for collection throughout the week on a wing rota basis. The offenders are allocated monies from their spending account that allows them to spend money earned through work participation. Offenders may supplement earnings with private cash sent in by families or friends as postal orders.

Gymnasium & Sports

The gymnasium facility at HMP Wakefield offers an extensive selection of activities that operate on rotation to ensure all offenders have access to a range of physical activity. Specialised classes are also offered including an over 60s afternoon that encourages men who wouldn't ordinarily use the gym to participate in gentle exercise and provides an opportunity for greater social interaction. The physical education officers are committed to providing an inclusive regime that encourages as many people as possible to keep active and physically fit. As of May 2008 over 55% of the establishment's population access the gym facilities in some way.


The linked PCT is West Yorkshire who undertook full commissioning responsibility in April 2006. The unit has four cells with camera observation for those offenders at particular risk of medical difficulties. The unit also houses a crisis suite for offenders at exceptional risk from self-harm or suicide. In addition to these facilities the unit offers an inpatient ward and several clinics.


F Wing has single cells with in-cell sanitation. The CSC unit provides a wide range of facilities on a unique self-contained unit held within the segregation unit (F Wing). Multi disciplinary working forms the integral part of managing the most disruptive and damaged individuals within the CSC System. The unit boasts a wide range of activities whilst still maintaining a high degree of security. The Unit has its own enclosed exercise area. The Education Department provides support and there are daily visits by the unit and duty Governor, Independent Monitoring Board, Chaplain and Doctor. Adjudications are held in the morning on a daily basis except for Sundays and Public Holidays.


The kitchen is run by a dedicated mix of civilian, uniformed discipline staff and approximately 30 offenders, providing meals for the whole establishment. The kitchen caters for an ever-increasing spectrum of needs that include religious, cultural and medical diets. At present the kitchen make provisions for Jewish, Sikh, Muslim, Vegan and Vegetarian prisoners and also caters for people who are diabetic, gluten-free and those who have a varying degree of food intolerance. These diets also provide appropriate meal provision during religious festivals such as the Muslim period of Ramadan. A new initiative of NVQ certificated training qualifications is at present being developed in a specially designed training kitchen as well as in the main prison kitchen. This enables offenders who are keen to work in this area to be involved in the process and be motivated in the process of large scale catering.


The Chaplaincy Team is multi-faith. It provides pastoral care for offenders and staff and endeavours to enable all offenders to practise the religion of their choice, privately and corporately. The faiths covered include Catholic, Church of England, Islam, Paganism, Jehovah Witnesses, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. There is an extensive weekly programme of services and instruction for all faith groups. The chaplaincy also provides dedicated sessions for the over 60s population and foreign national offenders as a place to come and discuss relevant issues. The chapel works closely with the race equality team who have recently led the way in providing regular meetings for Rastafarian offenders.

Did You Know?

The establishment has successfully completed a Performance Improvement Planning Process which began in 2005. The process offered a tailor-made set of proposed that improved the performance of the prison and resulted in Wakefield being awarded a Level 3 status (out of 4 levels). HMP Wakefield has made significant improvements as part of this process to its regime. The establishment is now moving forward successfully and looks forward to developing as a leader in the Prison Service and specifically the High Security Estate.

Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service


Get email alerts
Find a form
Find a court form