Detailed guide: Wetherby Young Offender Institute

Ministry of Justice - by Jim Larrison via Flickr

Detailed guide: Wetherby Young Offender Institute

Visiting Wetherby

Wetherby youth offenders' institute visiting hall

Wetherby’s visiting hall

You can only book a visit to Wetherby if you’ve been added to a young person’s visitor list. You’ll be contacted by an official from Wetherby when you’ve been added to someone’s list.

You can ask to be added to someone’s visitor list by contacting their caseworker.

Visits last up to 2 hours and must be booked at least 3 days in advance. You’ll only be able to book a visit if there are spaces available.

If the young person is on remand (they have not been found guilty or sentenced) they can have one visit a week.

If the young person has been convicted (they have been found guilty and have either been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing) they can have 3 visits a month.

Visiting times

Day Times
Wednesday 6:30pm to 8pm
Saturday 9:30am to 11:30am
2:30pm to 4:30pm
Sunday 9:30am to 11:30am
2:30pm to 4:30pm

Book a visit

When you’re on someone’s visitor list, you can book a visit by either:

At least one visitor must be over 18.

The first visit must be booked by phone. No one under 18 can come to the first visit.

Entering Wetherby

All visitors over 16 must bring photo ID with them. The only accepted forms of photo ID are:

  • 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 be given a pat-down search, including children.

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

You can use a locker for any personal items that aren’t allowed into the visiting area. You’ll need to bring a £1 coin if you want to use a locker.

Visiting rules

Everyone must stay in their allocated seat when visiting. You cannot:

  • swear
  • shout
  • pass anything to the young person you’re visiting (if this happens the police will be called and you could be banned from visiting again)

Family days

Family days give young people a chance to spend time with their family.

The young person will need to apply for a family day. If the application is successful you can spend the day with them at Wetherby and meet the staff who care for them.

Wetherby accepts new arrivals 24 hours a day. It might take several hours for the young person to contact you after they’ve arrived.


A young person can only phone you if you’re named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security.

Prison officers might listen to phone calls. This helps prevent crime, and ensures the security and safeguarding of the young people.


You can send emails to someone in Wetherby using


You can post letters to:

HMYOI Wetherby
York Road
West Yorkshire
LS22 5ED

You must include the young person’s name and prison number on the envelope. If you don’t know their prison number you can ask the caseworking team.

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

Young people in Wetherby can post 2 letters a week for free. They’ll need to buy stamps if they want to post more than 2 letters.

Sending money

You can send money to someone in Wetherby using the fast, easy online service.

Make sure you know the young person’s:

  • prison number
  • date of birth

Alternatively you can post:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to ‘The Governor’. The young person’s name and prison number must also be included somewhere on the document.

Any money you send in will be put in the young person’s private account, before being transferred to their spends account.

Sending gifts

Each young person is given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts. The list of items will vary depending on their privilege level.

Approved items might include:

  • clothing (with no sport logos, hoods or colours similar to staff uniforms)
  • footwear (with no air pockets on the sole)
  • sealed CDs and DVDs
  • books

You can contact Wetherby for more information on the gifts that are allowed.

Life for young people in Wetherby

Wetherby is committed to providing a safe, decent and educational environment where young people are encouraged and cared for by professional staff.

Security and safeguarding

Every young person at Wetherby is entitled to feel safe. The staff at Wetherby are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Leeds City Council’s safeguarding children board.

Wetherby has written policies and procedures explaining how it meets all safeguarding requirements, including:

  • reception of the young person
  • investigating and resolving cases of bullying
  • child protection concerns
  • healthcare and substance misuse procedures
  • letting the young person have contact with their family and friends

You can contact the safeguarding team to discuss the procedures or get copies of the policies.

All investigations into child protection incidents are carried out by Leeds City Council.

Arrival and first night

Every young person who comes to Wetherby is searched for contraband, such as tobacco or mobile phones.

They’ll be able to contact family members by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

The young person will be given:

  • clothes (including shoes, socks and underwear)
  • a toothbrush and toothpaste
  • shower gel and shampoo
  • blankets and sheets
  • a cup, bowl and plate

They’ll get to speak to a ‘first night officer’ who’ll ask them:

  • how they’re feeling
  • how they’re coping with being in custody
  • if there’s anything the prison should know about

The young person will be given a personal officer and a secondary personal officer.

The personal officer will be the young person’s main point of contact for questions and problems. They can also ask other members of staff if they need anything.


The first week at Wetherby is spent doing an induction.

Within the first 2 days the young person will meet a:

  • doctor
  • nurse
  • mental health worker
  • substance misuse worker
  • chaplain
  • unit caseworker

They’ll also have the prison rules and regulations explained to them.

During the rest of the induction they’ll learn about:

  • Barnardo’s
  • In 2 Out
  • conflict resolution
  • psychology
  • healthcare and sexual health
  • the education on offer
  • fire safety

Where they’ll stay

Wetherby is made up of 8 units:

  • Anson (care and separation)
  • Benbow (first night centre and induction)
  • Collingwood (enhanced residential)
  • Drake (residential)
  • Exmouth (residential)
  • Frobisher (residential)
  • Keppel (complex care)
  • Napier (enhanced support)

A referral is needed before placing someone in the Keppel or Napier units.

The induction week takes place in Benbow.

Once the induction is complete, the young person’s progress will be assessed.

If their behaviour has been good they can either stay in Benbow or choose to move to Collingwood or another appropriate unit. This is where they’ll stay during their time at Wetherby.

Everyone gets their own cell.


Every 7 days the young person’s progress is assessed. This includes how they’ve treated others and whether they’ve attended education.

The 3 levels of behaviour are:

  • gold
  • silver
  • red

Young people at gold level can earn extra rewards and privileges, including more money and extra free time.

Free time

Free time is called ‘association’ and takes place between 6.30pm and 8pm, Monday to Friday. There is extra association at the weekend.

The young person can use this time to:

  • socialise
  • shower
  • play table tennis
  • make phone calls

They can go outside for a minimum of 30 minutes every day (depending on the weather or any regime changes).


Education is provided by Novus. They’re contracted to give every young person 30 hours of education a week during their time at Wetherby.

Courses are offered to help young people gain qualifications at all levels. They include:

  • GCSEs
  • A Levels
  • construction
  • hospitality and catering
  • business enterprise
  • creative media
  • music
  • art

All courses include help with English, maths and personal development.

The Novus team works with each young person to help them secure college places or apprenticeships when they are released. They might also be able to work in the community during their sentence.

Earning money

Young people in Wetherby can earn money by taking part in education.

A maximum of £2.50 a week can be earned.

Spending money

The amount someone can spend each week is printed on their canteen sheet. They can order things like food, phone credit and stamps using this sheet.

Selected items, such as stereos, can be bought through an Argos catalogue in their unit.


Andrew Dickinson


HMYOI Wetherby
York Road
West Yorkshire
LS22 5ED

See map

Phone numbers

General enquiries: 01937 544 200

Caseworkers: 01937 544 247

Safeguarding team: 0800 496 1003

Fax number

01937 544 201


You should send any complaints to Wetherby by post.


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