hm prison littlehey

HM Prison Littlehey

HM Prison Littlehey is a Category C male prison located in Perry, Cambridgeshire. Operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service, Littlehey houses inmates convicted of sexual offenses. With a current population of around 1,220, the prison has a history dating back to the 1940s and has undergone many changes over the decades. Despite expansion and modernization efforts, Littlehey has faced criticism and controversies related to inmate welfare and conditions.


Origins as Gaynes Hall Youth Custody Centre

The Littlehey site originally opened in 1945 as Gaynes Hall Youth Custody Centre, a borstal institution for juvenile males. Gaynes Hall operated until 1983 when it closed and the buildings were demolished.

Conversion to Littlehey Prison

Littlehey Prison itself was purpose built on the site and opened in 1988 as an integrated Category C prison for adult males.

Early Criticisms

In 2003, a critical inspection report highlighted Littlehey’s failings in helping inmates transition back into society upon release. However, inspectors noted good staff-prisoner relationships.

Facilities and Population

Category C Male Prison

As a Category C prison, Littlehey houses male convicts who cannot be trusted in open conditions but are considered unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.

See also  HM Prison Magilligan

Cell Blocks and Capacity

Facilities include eight cell blocks, mostly single-occupancy cells but some shared cells. Total capacity is around 1,220 inmates as of 2020.

Work and Education Provisions

Prisoners have access to vocational courses and classes from basic skills to degree level. Work opportunities include trades such as carpentry, motor mechanics and hospitality.

Young Offender Expansion

2010 Expansion

In 2010, a major expansion added four new cell blocks and facilities focused on young offenders, increasing capacity by 480.

Focus on Skills and Qualifications

The young offender regime centered on providing qualifications and skills training aimed at reducing reoffending rates. However, some disturbances occurred in the first year.

Reclassification as Sex Offender Prison

2014 Reclassification

In 2014, Littlehey was re-categorized from a general Category C prison to accommodate inmates convicted of sex crimes.

Concerns and Controversies

Elderly and Disabled Inmate Facilities

Around 34% of Littlehey’s inmates are over age 50. Watchdogs have raised concerns about lack of provisions for elderly and disabled prisoners.

Maintenance and Condition Issues

Recent years have seen complaints of lengthy maintenance backlogs leading to poor conditions, such as broken showers and lack of heating.

Notable Inmates

Littlehey has housed several high-profile convicted sex offenders such as publicist Max Clifford, football coach Barry Bennell, and DJ Tony Prince.


HM Prison Littlehey has undergone many changes since its origins as a borstal in the 1940s. While its focus has shifted to sex offenders and rehabilitation efforts have increased, the prison continues to face issues around inmate welfare, aging facilities, and conditions. However, staff-prisoner relations remain a brighter spot according to inspectors. Going forward, solutions will need to be found to upgrade Littlehey’s physical facilities and provide quality care for its aging prisoner population.

See also  HM Prison Peterborough


Where is HMP Littlehey located?

HMP Littlehey is located in the village of Perry, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, England.

What types of inmates are housed at Littlehey?

As of 2014, Littlehey houses adult male inmates who have been convicted of sexual offenses and fall under Category C security classification.

How many prisoners does Littlehey have capacity for?

In its current expanded form, HMP Littlehey has a total capacity of around 1,220 inmates.

What facilities are offered to inmates at Littlehey?

Inmates have access to educational courses from basic skills to degree level, as well as vocational training in trades, hospitality, and more. Work opportunities are also offered within the prison.

What have been some of the controversies around Littlehey Prison?

Issues have included lack of provisions for elderly/disabled inmates, maintenance backlogs leading to poor conditions, and disturbances among the expanded young offender population early on.

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