Coldingley was opened in 1969 as a category B industrial training prison. It changed role to a category C prison in 1993. A new unit, E wing, was opened in 2009. In 2016 Coldingley became an early adopter of prison reform.
The prison has 6 wings. The oldest wings ,A-D hold 91 prisoners each in cells without integral sanitation ( released for the toilet by staff at night). E wing is slightly larger with 115 prisoners in cells with integral sanitation and F wing hold 10 prisoners who can access communal toilets as needed during the night