hm prison foston hall

HM Prison Foston Hall

HM Prison Foston Hall is a closed women’s prison located in the village of Foston, Derbyshire in England. Operating as a female prison within the UK’s HM Prison Service, Foston Hall plays an important role in rehabilitating female offenders and preparing them for life after release.

Background and History

The Foston Hall site has a long history dating back to the 14th century, when the original manor house and grounds were owned by the Agard family. In the 17th century it was purchased by John Bate, before being sold on to John Broadhurst in 1784. The original manor house was largely destroyed in a fire in 1836.

A new manor house in the Jacobethan style was constructed on the site in 1863, designed by architect T.C. Hine. This building, now a Grade II listed building, was acquired by HM Prison Service in 1953.

Over the next decades, Foston Hall functioned as a detention center, an immigration center, and a satellite facility for other nearby prisons. However, in 1996 the site was closed down.

The following year, after extensive refurbishment and rebuilding, Foston Hall reopened in 1997 as a closed women’s prison under the management of HM Prison Service.

The Buildings and Layout

The redeveloped Foston Hall prison is made up of several residential wings, including C, D, E, F, and T Wings. The prison also contains a First Night Centre for new arrivals, as well as healthcare facilities, kitchens, textiles and craft workshops, and outdoor garden areas.

See also  HM Prison Feltham

The wings contain a mix of single and shared cells to accommodate remanded and convicted prisoners. In total, the prison has a capacity for around 300 women inmates. Foston Hall also serves as a Young Offenders Institution, with a separate wing for younger inmates.

The Prison Population

As a closed women’s prison, Foston Hall houses both inmates who are awaiting trial or sentencing on remand, as well as those who have been convicted and sentenced. Healthcare and educational facilities at the prison cater to this diverse population.

Many of the women at Foston Hall come from difficult backgrounds and have complex needs. The prison regime aims to provide routine, purposeful activity and rehabilitation opportunities for all prisoners.

Opportunities for Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is a key focus at Foston Hall prison. Many work opportunities are available to inmates, including jobs in the gardens, gym, kitchens, and textile workshops. These jobs provide valuable skills as well as potential qualifications.

Extensive education programs offer inmates the chance to gain NVQs, develop their literacy and numeracy abilities, and learn new skills.resettlement programs also prepare women who are nearing the end of their sentence for release back into the community.

Notable Inmates Over the Years

Foston Hall has housed a number of well-known inmates. Former prisoners include Maxine Carr, who was jailed for perverting the course of justice over the Soham murders; Karen Matthews, who kidnapped her own daughter; and arsonist Melanie Shaw.

Current high-profile prisoners include Georgina Henshaw, jailed for murdering a chef; fell-runner Lauren Jeska, convicted of attempted murder; Louise Porton who murdered her two children; and Lorraine Thorpe, one of the UK’s youngest female double murderers.

See also  Bocardo Prison

Life Inside Foston Hall Prison

Daily Life for Inmates

Life inside Foston Hall is structured around a regular routine for prisoners. A typical day involves waking up early, tidying cells, washing and getting dressed before going to breakfast. Many women then report for work duties like kitchen shifts, cleaning jobs or textiles workshops.

Others may attend education classes or training sessions to gain qualifications. Prisoners are locked in their cells overnight and must follow the strict prison rules. However, well-behaved inmates can earn additional privileges.

Interaction with prison staff forms an important part of daily life. Prison officers supervise inmates and ensure discipline and safety within the prison. Staff aim to develop constructive, supportive relationships with prisoners to keep the environment calm.

Safety and Wellbeing of Inmates

Ensuring the welfare of prisoners is a priority at Foston Hall. The prison works hard to make the environment feel secure and non-threatening. Strategies are used to reduce violence and bullying among inmates.

Healthcare staff run clinics within the prison to address physical health needs, while counselors provide mental health support. Those with vulnerabilities such as substance abuse issues or self-harm risks receive extra assistance.

Overall, the prison strives to make inmates feel safe and encourage positive mental wellbeing. This aims to facilitate rehabilitation and reduce reoffending after release.

Preparing Prisoners for Release

In the months and weeks leading up to their discharge from prison, inmates are supported through resettlement programs. These help address practical needs like housing and finances, as well as equipping women with skills to gain employment post-release.

See also  HM Prison Prescoed

Probation staff based at the prison also coordinate supervision arrangements for once prisoners leave jail. Some inmates may transfer to open prisons or halfway houses nearing the end of their sentence. Education and family visits are encouraged to facilitate eventual reintegration into the community.


HM Prison Foston Hall plays an important role within the UK’s prison system as a female prison aiming to both punish and rehabilitate the women in its care. Its history over the decades reflects changing attitudes towards the role of prisons within society.

Today, the prison regime places emphasis on providing purposeful routine, safety, healthcare, skills development and preparation for life after release. For many vulnerable female offenders like those at Foston Hall, the experience of imprisonment will hopefully facilitate positive change and reduce recidivism rates.


1. What types of prisoners are held at Foston Hall?

Foston Hall houses adult women prisoners, both on remand and convicted. It also serves as a Young Offenders Institution for younger female offenders.

2. What facilities are available to inmates?

Inmates have access to facilities like workshops, kitchens, gardens, education/training classes and a gym. There is also healthcare available onsite. Each prisoner has their own cell.

3. What rehabilitation opportunities exist at the prison?

Rehabilitation programs include educational courses, vocational skills training, work duties and pre-release resettlement support. Counseling and mental health services are also available.

4. How does Foston Hall support prisoners’ mental health?

Mental health support is provided by counselors and healthcare staff. Staff are trained to identify vulnerabilities and provide extra support where needed. The prison aims to be a safe, non-threatening environment.

5. What happens to prisoners when they are released from Foston Hall?

Pre-release programs prepare inmates for life after prison. Probation staff coordinate community supervision arrangements. Some prisoners may transfer to open prisons or halfway houses before full release.

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