What is the Largest Prison in the UK?

When it comes to understanding the UK’s prison system, one often asks, “What is the largest prison in the UK?” This question leads us to HMP Berwyn, located in Wrexham, North Wales. Opened in February 2017, HMP Berwyn is not only the largest prison in the UK but also one of the most modern correctional facilities in the country. Designed to accommodate up to 2,106 inmates, it represents a significant investment in the UK’s prison infrastructure.

What is the largest prison in the UK

Overview of HMP Berwyn

HMP Berwyn, with its impressive capacity, stands out as a cornerstone of the UK’s efforts to modernise its correctional facilities. This prison was constructed with the aim of creating a more rehabilitative environment for inmates, moving away from the more punitive models of the past.

History and Construction

The construction of HMP Berwyn began in May 2014, with the facility opening its doors in 2017. The prison was built on a 108-acre site and cost approximately £250 million. Its development was part of the UK government’s strategy to provide additional capacity and to replace older, less efficient prisons.

Facility and Capacity

With a capacity of over 2,100 inmates, HMP Berwyn surpasses the next largest facility, HMP Oakwood, which holds around 2,100 prisoners. The design of Berwyn focuses on rehabilitation and education, featuring extensive workshop facilities, educational programs, and healthcare services.

Rehabilitation and Education

HMP Berwyn places a strong emphasis on rehabilitation. The prison offers a variety of educational programs aimed at improving inmates’ skills and qualifications. Workshops at the prison provide training in various trades, preparing inmates for successful reintegration into society upon their release.

Healthcare and Support Services

Inmates at HMP Berwyn have access to comprehensive healthcare services, including mental health support. The prison’s healthcare facilities are designed to meet a wide range of needs, ensuring that inmates receive appropriate care during their incarceration.

Security and Management

Despite its focus on rehabilitation, security at HMP Berwyn is robust. The prison employs a range of measures to maintain order and safety, including advanced surveillance systems and a well-trained staff. Management at HMP Berwyn strives to balance security with the humane treatment of inmates.

Challenges and Criticisms

Like any large institution, HMP Berwyn has faced challenges and criticisms. Issues such as overcrowding, staffing shortages, and incidents of violence have been reported. However, efforts are continuously made to address these problems and improve the overall environment of the prison.

Future of HMP Berwyn

The future of HMP Berwyn looks promising as the facility continues to adapt and evolve. Ongoing investments in staff training, inmate programs, and infrastructure aim to enhance the effectiveness of the prison system. HMP Berwyn serves as a model for future prison developments in the UK.

Comparisons with Other UK Prisons

When compared to other prisons in the UK, HMP Berwyn’s size and modern facilities set it apart. HMP Oakwood, the second largest, and HMP Wandsworth, one of the oldest, highlight the diversity in the UK’s prison infrastructure. Each facility has its unique characteristics and challenges, but HMP Berwyn’s scale and design represent the future direction of the UK’s prison system.


Understanding what is the largest prison in the UK provides insight into the country’s approach to incarceration and rehabilitation. HMP Berwyn, with its substantial capacity and modern facilities, symbolizes the UK’s commitment to improving its correctional system. The focus on rehabilitation, education, and healthcare at HMP Berwyn offers a glimpse into a more progressive and humane approach to incarceration.


1. What is the largest prison in the UK? HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, North Wales, is the largest prison in the UK.

2. When did HMP Berwyn open? HMP Berwyn opened in February 2017.

3. How many inmates can HMP Berwyn accommodate? HMP Berwyn has a capacity of up to 2,106 inmates.

4. Where is HMP Berwyn located? HMP Berwyn is located in Wrexham, North Wales.

5. What is the focus of HMP Berwyn? The focus of HMP Berwyn is on rehabilitation, education, and providing comprehensive healthcare services.

6. How does HMP Berwyn compare to other UK prisons? HMP Berwyn is the largest and one of the most modern prisons in the UK, surpassing other facilities like HMP Oakwood in terms of capacity.

7. What kind of educational programs does HMP Berwyn offer? HMP Berwyn offers a variety of educational programs aimed at improving inmates’ skills and qualifications for reintegration into society.

8. What security measures are in place at HMP Berwyn? HMP Berwyn employs advanced surveillance systems and has a well-trained staff to maintain security and order.

9. What are some challenges faced by HMP Berwyn? Challenges include overcrowding, staffing shortages, and incidents of violence, which are continually being addressed.

10. What is the future outlook for HMP Berwyn? The future looks promising with ongoing investments in training, inmate programs, and infrastructure aimed at enhancing the prison’s effectiveness.

For more information on what is the largest prison in the UK, visit GOV.UK – HM Prison Service.


HMP Berwyn, the largest prison in the UK, represents a significant step towards modernising the UK’s prison system. Opened in 2017 and capable of housing over 2,100 inmates, it focuses on rehabilitation and education, providing comprehensive healthcare and robust security. While it faces challenges, the future outlook remains positive with continuous improvements and investments. For detailed information on the UK’s largest prison, check out the provided external link. Check out our other pages such as what is altcourse prison like.