What is Oakington Prison Like

What is Oakington Prison Like

Inside Oakington Prison: A Detailed Exploration

An Insight into Life at Oakington Prison

Oakington Prison, a facility within the UK’s correctional and immigration system, has been a subject of interest and discussion. This article aims to provide a comprehensive view of what life is like inside Oakington Prison, covering its structure, programs, and living conditions.

The Character of Oakington Prison

It’s important to clarify that Oakington was primarily an Immigration Reception Centre rather than a traditional prison. This distinction is crucial as it catered to individuals under immigration control, rather than those serving criminal sentences. The facility played a significant role in the UK’s immigration system, handling cases of individuals awaiting decisions on their immigration status.

Location and Historical Background

Located in Cambridgeshire, Oakington had a significant role in the region. Its history is intertwined with the UK’s evolving immigration policies. Initially opened in the late 20th century, it underwent various transformations reflecting the changing approaches to immigration control and processing.

Capacity and Category

As an Immigration Reception Centre, Oakington had a specific capacity to house a considerable number of detainees. The centre was designed to temporarily hold individuals while their immigration status was being resolved, differing from the long-term nature of traditional prisons.

Notable Detainees

Given its nature as an Immigration Reception Centre, Oakington didn’t typically house famous individuals in the traditional sense. The focus was more on processing a diverse range of individuals from various backgrounds.

Education and Rehabilitation Programs

Oakington offered various programs aimed at supporting detainees during their stay. These could include language classes, legal advice sessions, and other support services designed to assist detainees in navigating the immigration process.

Living Conditions

The living conditions at Oakington were a subject of scrutiny and reform efforts. The aim was always to maintain standards that upheld the dignity and rights of detainees, within the constraints of an immigration control environment.

Recent News and Developments

As of my last update in January 2022, Oakington had been closed. Recent news and developments, therefore, relate more to the legacy of the centre and its role in the history of the UK’s immigration system.


Understanding what life was like in Oakington requires a look back at its role as an Immigration Reception Centre. It was a place where individuals awaited decisions on their immigration status, often under challenging conditions. While it no longer operates, its history continues to be relevant in discussions about immigration policies and practices in the UK.