Detailed guide: Downview Prison and Young Offender Institute

Ministry of Justice - by Jim Larrison via Flickr

Detailed guide: Downview Prison and Young Offender Institute

Book and plan your visit to Downview

To visit someone in Downview you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have the the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

There may be a limit to the number of visits a person can have. You can check this with Downview.

Contact Downview if you have any questions about visiting.

Help with the cost of your visit

If you get certain benefits or have an NHS health certificate, you might be able to get help with the costs of your visit, including:

  • travel to Downview
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 303 0633
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Thursday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Saturday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 2pm to 4pm

How to book legal and professional visits

Email: hmppsvisitbooking@justice.gov.uk

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 303 0633
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 9am to 11am
  • Thursday: 9am to 11am

Getting to Downview

Find Downview on a map

The closest railway stations are Belmont and Sutton.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is a visitors car park, including spaces for Blue Badge holders.

Entering Downview

All visitors aged 16 and older need to bring one of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • benefit book
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • annual public transport season ticket (with photo card)
  • employer ID card (if it shows the name of the visitor and the employer)
  • European Community identity card

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children.

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £10 in coins (notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink from the snack bar in the visiting hall.

There are strict controls on what you can take into the prison. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

You will be told the rules by an officer at the start of your visit. If you break the rules, your visit could be cancelled and you could be banned from visiting again.

Family days

Downview holds regular family days which give residents more time to spend with family and loved ones in a relaxed setting. Contact Downview for details.

Keep in touch with someone at Downview

You may not be able to speak with someone at Downview during their first few days. This is because it can take time to approve who they can be in touch with.

Women do not have phones in their rooms so they will always need to call you rather than you call them.

Phone calls

Residents can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security.

You can also exchange voicemails using the Prison Voicemail service.

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.

Email

You can send emails to someone in Downview using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from the resident, depending on the rules at Downview.

Letters

Include the person’s name and prison number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prison number, contact Downview.

All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers.

Send money and gifts

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.

You can also send:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to ‘HM Prison Service’ and include the resident’s name and prison number on the back.

Gifts and parcels

Residents are given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts. These can be ordered online from Amazon or Argos and sent directly to Downview or they can be sent from home. There is a limit to the number of parcels a resident can receive each year. Contact Downview for more information on sending parcels.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prison number on the parcel.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Life at Downview

Downview is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where women can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Downview has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Downview, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

They will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.

Induction

Each person who arrives at Downview gets an induction that lasts about a week. They will meet professionals who will help them with:

  • health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
  • any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
  • personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
  • other support (sometimes called ‘interventions’), such as managing difficult emotions

Everyone also finds out about property allowances, the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.

They will be introduced to some of the other residents who will give support and guidance where needed. Help is also available for anyone who has difficulty speaking or understanding English.

Accommodation

Around 300 women live at Downview. There are several residential wings serving different purposes. Each woman gets her own room.

Facilities include a developed gym and astroturf football pitch.

Education and work

Women at Downview can study or take workshops and training in a range of subjects including:

  • English
  • maths
  • IT
  • hairdressing
  • beauty
  • catering

Courses are provided by Weston College.

Downview has partnerships with the London College of Fashion, Max Speilmann Academy (photo printing) and the Clink charity (catering) to give residents work experience and opportunities for employment on release.

Temporary release

Downview residents have the opportunity to gain work experience in the local community. This is known as release on temporary licence.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Downview. If you can’t resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Downview in response to independent inspections.

Governor: Natasha Wilson

Telephone (24 hours): 020 8196 6300
Fax: 020 8196 6301
Find out about call charges

Follow Downview on Twitter

Address

HMP/YOI Downview
Sutton Lane
Sutton
Surrey
SM2 5PD

See map

Safety concerns

Email safercustody.downview@justice.org.uk if you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a woman in Downview.

You can also contact Downview if you would prefer to speak to someone.

 

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