Are there any unisex prisons UK?

Are there any unisex prisons UK

Are There Any Unisex Prisons in the UK? A Comprehensive Guide with a Spotlight on Peterborough Prison


The question of whether there are unisex prisons in the UK has sparked interest and debate across various sectors, including legal and social communities. If you’ve been pondering, “Are there any unisex prisons in the UK?” this guide aims to offer a thorough answer, taking into account the current legal landscape and unique facilities like Peterborough Prison.

Legal Framework

The UK’s prison system is governed by several pieces of legislation, such as the Prison Act 1952 and the Offender Management Act 2007. These laws set the framework for the operation and governance of prisons but don’t specifically address the concept of unisex prisons.

Current Status of Unisex Prisons in the UK

Traditionally, UK prisons have been segregated by gender, with distinct facilities for men and women. However, there is one notable exception: Peterborough Prison.

Are there any unisex prisons UK?

Are there any unisex prisons UK?

Peterborough Prison: A Unique Case

Peterborough Prison stands as the only purpose-built prison in the UK designed to accommodate both male and female prisoners. Although it houses both genders, they are kept separate at all times, ensuring safety and compliance with regulations. This unique setup makes Peterborough a subject of interest in discussions about the feasibility and practicality of unisex prisons in the UK.

Exceptions and Special Cases

  • Transgender Inmates: The UK has specific guidelines for managing transgender prisoners, who may be placed in facilities that align with their identified gender.

  • Mother and Baby Units: Some women’s prisons have special units where mothers can live with their infants, but these are not considered unisex facilities.

Public Opinion and Debate

The idea of unisex prisons remains a contentious issue. Proponents argue that such facilities could foster equality and reduce gender-based stigmatization. Critics, however, express concerns about safety, privacy, and the risk of exploitation.

International Perspective

While the UK has only one prison that accommodates both genders (though separately), some countries have experimented with mixed-gender facilities, with mixed results and public opinions.


Except for Peterborough Prison, which is designed to house both male and female inmates separately, the UK does not have unisex prisons in the traditional sense. The topic continues to be a subject of debate, and any future changes would necessitate significant amendments to existing laws and regulations. This guide serves as your comprehensive resource for understanding the current state and ongoing discussions about unisex prisons in the UK.

Are there any unisex prisons UK