What is Lewes Prison Like?


What is Lewes Prison Like? – A Comprehensive Inside Look at the Category B Facility in East Sussex

If you’re wondering what Lewes Prison is like, you’ve come to the right place. We provide a detailed guide about this Category B local prison, located in East Sussex with a capacity of 656 inmates. Opened in 1853 and run by Her Majesty’s Prison Service, Lewes Prison has a longstanding history and offers an intriguing look into the British penal system. Keep reading to explore its history, what life is like for its prisoners, and firsthand accounts from officers and managers.

History of Lewes Prison

Lewes Prison has been operational since 1853, making it a historical landmark in the UK’s prison system. Being a Category B local prison, it is designed to hold prisoners who are not deemed a high escape risk but still require secure conditions.


The prison is situated in East Sussex, making it an essential institution for the county and the broader region.

What’s Life Really Like Inside Lewes Prison?

From the Prisoners’ Point of View

Inmates report that staff are ‘kind,’ ‘caring,’ and ‘treat you like a human.’ Prisoner safety is described as ‘good,’ thanks in part to effective Keywork programs. The gym facilities are praised as ‘great,’ and monthly ‘Community Group’ meetings chaired by the Deputy Governor receive positive feedback. In terms of equalities and diversity, the prison offers a range of reps and regular meetings with managers. Activities specifically for older prisoners are also available and highly appreciated.

What is Lewes Prison Like?

What is Lewes Prison Like?

Officers’ Take on Lewes Prison

According to officers, the relationship between staff and prisoners is positive, and safety has seen marked improvements. Officers highlight the significant role of Keywork in improving relationships and dynamic security measures. They appreciate the No. 1 Governor as someone ‘visible and approachable’ and committed to constant improvement. The gym facilities and resettlement services, particularly the role of probation, are emphasised.

The Managers’ Perspective

Managers describe staff-prisoner relations as good, a point often highlighted by prisoners. They also underscore the value of Keywork, particularly its impact on resettlement and the involvement of probation. They rate the gym as ‘excellent,’ noting its sports leadership course linked to Brighton & Hove Albion. Other positive features include monthly family visits, improved visiting facilities, and an emphasis on equalities and diversity, including support for trans prisoners.

News Reports and Additional Information

Lewes Prison has been in the headlines for a variety of reasons over the years, but its efforts to improve safety and rehabilitation services have been particularly notable.

In Conclusion

Lewes Prison aims to offer a balanced environment, combining security with a focus on rehabilitation and prisoner well-being. Its long history and progressive approach to inmate management make it a unique institution in the UK’s penal system.

Lewes Prison HMP