What is Haverigg Prison Like?

What is Haverigg Prison Like?

What is Haverigg Prison Like? A Comprehensive Insight

HMP Haverigg, uniquely positioned as the prison service’s most isolated establishment, is the sole penitentiary located in Cumbria. It was inaugurated in 1967 on the grounds of a former RAF camp. The original structure provided accommodations for 350 inmates in RAF billets, but through several expansions and reconstructions due to incidents in 1988 and 1999, the housing capacity swelled to 558 places. The prison has evolved through the years, grappling with notorious reputations and carving a niche as one of the more notable open prisons.

What is Haverigg Prison Like?

Haverigg’s Evolution

Haverigg’s transformation journey is noteworthy. From its inception, the prison has undergone multiple alterations, seen the addition of new units, and the doubling of cells, which has significantly raised its accommodation capability. It has a considerable history, transitioning from its early days as a closed training prison, facing abundant criticism, particularly concerning safety and control, to a commendable category D open establishment.

What is Haverigg Prison Like?

What is Haverigg Prison Like?

A First-hand Account of Life in Haverigg

Andrew, a former inmate, reveals the daunting realities of life in HMP Haverigg. His account of the prison lifestyle uncovers the prevalent chaos, where survival instincts dominate. He delves into the tumultuous environment marked by frequent attacks, the omnipresence of drugs, and the flourishing black markets. Andrew’s tales bring to light the extreme measures inmates adopt to endure the relentless brutality and the elaborate schemes conceived to smuggle contraband, all depicting a vivid picture of a world steeped in lawlessness and inventive illicit endeavors.

Contraband and Black Markets

The prison environment in Haverigg is vividly painted by the proliferation of drugs and contraband, highlighting the skyrocketing prices and the intense struggles for their acquisition. The tales of the smuggling ingenuity, depicting the extensive lengths individuals go to procure and capitalize on these illegal items, reveal a complex underground economy, thriving amidst the stringent confines of the prison walls.

Emergence as a Notable Open Prison

Haverigg Prison, despite its troubled past and complex challenges, has been instrumental in reflecting the possibilities of transformation, earning recognition as an evolving open prison. It now holds a majority of high-risk sex offenders, and the prison environment has significantly changed, reflecting improved safety and control. The dedicated efforts of the acting governor, management, staff, and prisoners have been pivotal in navigating the transition and confronting the strategic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety and Rehabilitation: A Renewed Focus

Safety at HMP Haverigg has elevated to ‘good’, the highest appraisal by the Inspectorate. This notable improvement is primarily attributed to the enhanced staff-prisoner relationships and the establishment of a relaxed and calm atmosphere within the prison premises. The emphasis on sentence management, risk of harm reduction work, and rehabilitative services have gained paramount importance as the prison settles into its new role and purpose.

Purposeful Engagement and Release Preparation

Haverigg prison actively engages inmates in various productive activities, ensuring access to education and employment. The prison’s approach to facilitating purposeful work, education, and its commitment to aiding inmates’ integration post-release is indicative of its progressive orientation. The positive remarks from local employers regarding the work ethic of Haverigg prisoners underscore the value of their rehabilitative services, even as there’s an ongoing call to widen the range of release on temporary licence (ROTL) options to encompass more high-skilled occupations.


HMP Haverigg, enveloped in its unique set of challenges, portrays a detailed narrative of transformation and resilience. From its tumultuous past marked by intense criticism to its evolving status as a progressive open prison, it has traversed a multifaceted journey. The insights provided by individuals like Andrew depict a raw and unfiltered perspective of the life within, shedding light on the struggles, the underground economy, and the relentless pursuit of survival. The prison’s ongoing endeavors in safety enhancement, rehabilitation, and purposeful inmate engagement illuminate its commitment to fostering an environment conducive to reform and positive transformation.

What is Haverigg Prison Like?