The prison is run by HMPS as part of the South West Region. It has a capacity of 614 and the #1governor is called Andrea Albutt. The prison was originally built in 1883, but there have been numerous additions, extensions and renovations since that time. It serves the courts of Bristol and the South West; most of the prisoners remain at Bristol for less than 12 months.
- A wing: 126-bed unit, holding remand and sentenced prisoners.
- B wing: 99-single-cell drug-free unit,
- C wing: 148-bed unit, incorporating IDTS/drug recovery
- D wing: 105-bed unit; VP prisoners.
- E wing: segregation unit
- F wing: 11 bed first night centre
- G wing: 125-bed unit, holding sentenced and remand prisoners.
- Brunel unit, 17 bed complex mental and physical needs prisoners.