HMP Whatton was built in 1966 as a detention centre for boys. It became a young offender institution in 1989 and re-roled in 1990 to an adult male category C training prison. During the 1990s, its role was developed as a prison for male sex offenders. Its population more than doubled in early 2006. The prison remains exclusively for sex offenders. Approximately 70% of the population have child victims and the remainder adult victims.
The accommodation provided is:
- A1–8 New residential wings with modern cells. The care and separation unit is attached to A3
- B1 and B2 The original accommodation, mostly former dormitories with cubicles
- B2–6 Landing with 35 cells
- C1–3 Modular units; C2 is low security, C3 is doubled accommodation
The prison is run by HMPS and the #1 governor is Lynn Saunders OBE, who has been in charge since 2008. The prison is part of the East Midlands region and holds 841 prisoners.