HMP Drake Hall, General Information

Drake Hall provided accommodation for female munitions workers in World War II. Originally a male prison, it became a female prison in 1974. In 2002, the prison was re-designated from open to semiopen and in 2009 to closed.


There were 15 residential units within the perimeter fence, accommodating up to 315 women, with most units holding approximately 20 people, with a further 25 in a unit outside the fence.

  • Bristol, Canterbury, Norwich – general non-smoking units, some of which were double rooms
  • Durham, Exeter, Folkestone, Gloucester, , Margate, Oxford – general units
  • Keele – a 19-room induction unit
  • Plymouth, Richmond – for women who had completed their induction
  • Ipswich – mostly accommodating women working outside the prison
  • Lancaster – mostly housing long-term prisoners and lifers
  • St David’s – 16 single rooms for women with social care or mobility needs.
  • The new open unit located outside the prison gate could hold up to 25 women.

The prison is part of the West Midlands region and has a capacity of 340. The #1 governor is Mr Carl Hardwick


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