HMP Leicester: Overview and History

HMP Leicester is a historic Category B men’s prison situated in the heart of Leicester, Leicestershire. Opened in 1828, this facility was designed by William Parsons and constructed to resemble a fortress. The prison has a capacity to hold 408 male inmates, although it has been noted for being one of the most overcrowded prisons in the country, originally intended to house around 200 inmates​​​​.


HMP Leicester

History of HMP Leicester

HMP Leicester has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1828. Over the years, the prison has seen numerous changes and developments, adapting to the evolving needs of the penal system. The site has witnessed significant events, including 23 executions, with the last one taking place in 1953​​.


Latest News and Developments

Recent reports highlight ongoing efforts to improve the living conditions and operational standards at HMP Leicester. Inspections have brought to light various challenges, including overcrowding and inadequate facilities. However, initiatives are in place to address these issues, focusing on enhancing prisoner rehabilitation and welfare​​​​.

General Information About HMP Leicester

HMP Leicester is structured into several wings, each designed to cater to different needs. The main living accommodation is split into A and B wings, featuring full integral sanitation and in-cell electricity. The prison also houses a separate area for vulnerable prisoners, a first night centre, and a segregation unit​​.

What Type of Prison is HMP Leicester?

HMP Leicester is classified as a Category B prison, meaning it holds inmates who do not require maximum security but still pose a significant risk. The prison primarily accommodates adult male offenders and focuses on rehabilitation and reintegration programs​​.

Capacity and Facilities

With a capacity of 408 inmates, HMP Leicester is often challenged by overcrowding. The facility includes a substance misuse unit, healthcare centre, and various educational and vocational training programs aimed at reducing reoffending rates. Despite its limitations, the prison strives to provide a safe and supportive environment for its inmates​​​​.

Location and Contact Information

HMP Leicester is conveniently located near the Leicester city centre, opposite the Leicester Royal Infirmary. The address for the prison is Welford Road, Leicester, LE2 7AJ. For general inquiries, the prison can be contacted at 0116 228 3000

FAQs About HMP Leicester

1. What is the history of HMP Leicester? HMP Leicester was established in 1828 and has undergone numerous changes and developments. It has a rich history interwoven with significant events and reforms aimed at improving the prison system.

2. How can I book a visit to HMP Leicester? Visits can be booked online through the official prison website or by calling the booking line at 0116 228 3128. Visitors are advised to book in advance to secure their preferred time slots​​.

3. What is the capacity of HMP Leicester? HMP Leicester has a capacity to hold 408 male inmates, although it has been noted for being one of the most overcrowded prisons in the country​​​​.

4. What type of prison is HMP Leicester? HMP Leicester is a Category B prison, primarily holding adult male offenders who do not require maximum security but still pose a significant risk​​.

5. Are there any notable former inmates of HMP Leicester? Notable former inmates include RnB singer Mark Morrison, actor Ricky Tomlinson, and infamous criminal Charles Bronson​​.

6. What rehabilitation programs are available at HMP Leicester? The prison offers various educational and vocational training programs, substance misuse support, and healthcare services aimed at reducing reoffending rates and assisting inmates in their reintegration into society​​.

7. How can I send money to an inmate at HMP Leicester? Money can be sent using the online service available through the official prison website. Traditional methods such as bank transfers or postal orders are no longer accepted​​.

8. What are the visiting hours at HMP Leicester? Visiting hours are from 14:15 to 16:15 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and from 16:00 to 18:00 on Wednesdays​​.

9. How do I contact HMP Leicester? For general inquiries, you can contact the prison at 0116 228 3000. Additional contact details and information are available on the official government website​​.

10. What are the transportation options to HMP Leicester? The nearest railway station is Leicester, and the prison is a short walk from there. Visitors can also use local bus services to reach the prison​​​​.

Summary and Conclusion

HMP Leicester is a significant correctional facility with a rich history and a crucial role in the UK’s penal system. Despite its challenges, including overcrowding, the prison continues to focus on rehabilitation and providing a safe environment for its inmates. By understanding its history, current operations, and visitor information, one can gain a comprehensive view of HMP Leicester.

For further reading, visit our other prison pages such as HMP Leeds


  1. Record Office for Leicestershire
  2. Prison Phone
  3. GOV.UK
  4. Project Telecoms
  5. Doing Time
  6. Prison Guide – Leicester