HM Prison Downview

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HMP Downview
LocationBanstead, Surrey
Security classAdult Female/Closed
Population283 (as of June 2013)
Managed byHM Prison Services
GovernorNatasha Wilson
WebsiteDownview at

HM Prison Downview is a women's closed category prison. Downview is located on the outskirts of Banstead in Surrey, England (overlooking Banstead Downs), and is immediately adjacent to the southern boundary of Belmont in Greater London; the prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service, and is situated in proximity to High Down Prison for men.


Downview was converted from a former nurses' home of Banstead Hospital; it opened in 1989 as a Category C male prison.

In 1992, HMP Downview saw the establishment of the UK's first intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme; the programme was established by the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust and was opened by Anthony Hopkins, who remains a patron of the trust.

In September 2001, owing to increased demand for places at women's prisons in the UK, Downview's role changed to a "closed" prison for adult women.[1] A year later, one of the prison's chaplains resigned after claims that he had demanded sexual favours from inmates in exchange for communion wine.[2]

In December 2004 a sixteen-bed juvenile unit opened at Downview for young female offenders (both remand and convicted) aged from 15-18, in partnership with the Youth Justice Board.

The PRIME project was launched at Downview in April 2006; it is now known as The Media House, it is a media educational and broadcast facility inside the prison. The project, managed by Maria Esposito from 2007 to 2013, has won several awards including the Butler Trust Award in 2010/11.[3] Prisoners can achieve a BTEC qualification for completing the 16-week course.

The prison today[edit]

Downview Prison holds adult sentenced female prisoners and convicted and remanded female juveniles; the prison holds approximately 50% foreign nationals, many of whom are Jamaican and Nigerian. Downview is divided into 4 wings, A, B, C and D (D wing is a resettlement wing), and the Juvenile Unit. All wings have single-cell accommodation with in-cell electricity.

The prison offers vocational training courses and NVQs for inmates; the resettlement wing provides opportunities for inmates to work and receive education outside the prison.

On 4 September 2013, the Ministry of Justice announced that it intended to convert Downview into a prison for adult males,[4] it closed as a women's prison in preparation for conversion, but in 2016 it reopened as a women's prison when HM Prison Holloway was closed, taking many of its prisoners.[5]

In March 2019, the Ministry of Justice announced that a wing within the prison would be used solely to house transgender inmates, making it the first unit in the UK to serve this purpose.[6]

Notable inmates[edit]


  1. ^ "Sharp rise in women prisoners". BBC News. 26 November 2001.
  2. ^ Insall, Roger; Fowler, Stewart (4 May 2003). "VICAR OF DABBLEY; `Inmates Bribed with Communion Wine for a Bit of How's Yer Father'". Questia. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  3. ^ Morrison, Beverley (30 August 2012). "Jeremy Paxman and Mike Leigh are fans of Downview TV course that turns women prisoners lives around". Sutton & Croydon Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  4. ^ Danny Shaw (4 September 2013). "Prisons to close in England as super-prison site revealed". BBC News.
  5. ^ Seymour, Jenny (5 May 2016). "Women prisoners return to Banstead's HMP Downview". Surrey Mirror. Retrieved 2 July 2017.[dead link]
  6. ^ "First UK transgender prison unit to open". BBC News. 3 March 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°20′18″N 0°11′17″W / 51.3384°N 0.1881°W / 51.3384; -0.1881