Are you OK with cookies?

We use small files called ‘cookies’ on Some are essential to make the site work, some help us to understand how we can improve your experience, and some are set by third parties. You can choose to turn off the non-essential cookies. Which cookies are you happy for us to use?

Skip to content

HMP Whatton

Open document

Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Whatton by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (15–25 January 2024)

Whatton healthy prison scores

Bar chart showing the healthy prison outcomes at HMP Whatton in 2024 compared with 2016. Safety had remained good, respect had remained reasonably good, purposeful activity had dropped from good to not sufficiently good, and preparation for release had dropped from good to reasonably good.

What we found

Whatton was generally continuing to operate effectively as a national resource for men convicted of sexual offences. The new governor had taken responsibility for improving the experiences of black prisoners, a concern raised in our previous two inspections. Behaviour management processes were overly punitive, with cellular confinement used far more than at similar establishments, and good behaviour needed to be better incentivised. Self-harm was also higher than at comparator prisons and had risen over the past two years. Many prisoners’ literacy and numeracy levels were poor and the rollout of a prison-wide reading strategy was slow. A lack of accredited programmes inhibited sentence progression, with some waiting years to fulfil that aspect of their sentence plan.

Points to note: Living conditions on B wing were poor. Cells were very cramped and the toilet was situated next to the bed without any partition. Black mould grew on poorly ventilated cell walls and prisoners had been forced to line walls with cardboard to keep warm.

Action plan