HMP Norwich: Introduction

HMP Norwich, located in Norfolk, is a Category B/C men’s prison with a rich history dating back to the 19th century. Initially established on the site of Britannia Barracks, it has evolved significantly over the years, serving various functions and housing different categories of inmates.


HMP Norwich

History of HMP Norwich

HMP Norwich was officially opened in 1887, replacing the previous county gaol at Norwich Castle. The original building was constructed on the site of the former Britannia Barracks, once home to the Royal Norfolk Regiment. The design featured a long building with three floors of cells, allowing for comprehensive supervision​​​​.


Current Operations and Facilities

HMP Norwich currently houses Category B and C prisoners. It is divided into several wings and units, each catering to different prisoner categories and needs. For instance, Wings C1 to C3 accommodate sex offenders and vulnerable prisoners, while Wing L is dedicated to elderly inmates, many of whom are serving life sentences​​.

Education and Work Opportunities

Inmates at HMP Norwich have access to a variety of educational programs and work opportunities. Courses range from basic and key skills to more specialized training such as ESOL, Food Hygiene, and NVQs in Catering. Work opportunities within the prison include roles in maintenance, cleaning, and kitchen services, aimed at developing skills and instilling a sense of responsibility​​.

Healthcare and Support Services

The prison features an on-site healthcare unit staffed with medical professionals who provide primary healthcare services, mental health support, and substance abuse programs. HMP Norwich also offers resettlement support to help inmates prepare for release, including assistance with accommodation and employment​​.

Visiting HMP Norwich

Visitors to HMP Norwich can make use of the visitors’ centre, which provides hot and cold drinks and a children’s play area. The prison also organises Family Days, allowing inmates to spend extended time with their families in a relaxed setting​​.

Notable Inmates

Over the years, HMP Norwich has housed several notable inmates, including Reggie Kray, Anthony Sawoniuk, and Ronnie Biggs. These individuals have contributed to the prison’s storied history​​.

Recent News

In recent years, HMP Norwich has faced challenges such as overcrowding and criticisms over cleanliness and anti-bullying programs. However, efforts are continually being made to improve conditions and provide better support for inmates​


  1. What is the history of HMP Norwich? HMP Norwich was established in 1887 on the site of Britannia Barracks, replacing the previous county gaol at Norwich Castle.

  2. What categories of prisoners does HMP Norwich house? HMP Norwich houses Category B and C male prisoners, including sex offenders, vulnerable prisoners, and elderly inmates.

  3. What educational programs are available at HMP Norwich? Inmates can access a variety of educational programs, including basic skills, ESOL, Food Hygiene, NVQs in Catering, and more.

  4. How can I visit someone at HMP Norwich? Visits can be booked online or by telephone, with specific visiting times allocated for different wings. Visitors must bring photographic ID and proof of address.

  5. What healthcare services are available at HMP Norwich? The prison has an on-site healthcare unit providing primary healthcare, mental health support, and substance abuse programs.

  6. What work opportunities are available for inmates at HMP Norwich? Inmates can participate in various work roles within the prison, such as maintenance, cleaning, and kitchen services.

  7. What support is available for inmates preparing for release? HMP Norwich offers resettlement support, including assistance with accommodation, employment, and access to community-based services.

  8. Who are some notable inmates who have been housed at HMP Norwich? Notable inmates include Reggie Kray, Anthony Sawoniuk, and Ronnie Biggs.

  9. What criticisms has HMP Norwich faced in recent years? The prison has been criticised for issues such as overcrowding, poor cleanliness, and inadequate anti-bullying programs.

  10. How can families stay in contact with inmates at HMP Norwich? Families can maintain contact through visits, phone calls, emails, and secure video calls.


HMP Norwich is a significant institution with a rich history and a commitment to improving the lives of its inmates through education, work opportunities, and support services. Despite facing challenges, efforts continue to enhance the conditions and operations within the prison.

For further information, you can visit our other prison pages such as HMP North Sea Camp

Research Sources

  1. Wikipedia – HMP Norwich
  2. GOV.UK – Norwich Prison
  3. Norfolk Record Office – HM Prison Norwich
  4. Prison Info – Norwich Prison Information
  5. Capital Punishment U.K. – Norwich Prison
  6. UK Parliament – About the Norwich Prisons
  7. 19th Century Prison History – Norwich Prison
  8. Ormiston Families – Norwich Prison Visitors Centre
  9. Norfolk Museums – Norwich Castle and Prisons

For more detailed information, visit Prison Guide – HMP Norwich.