Deerbolt Visitor Centre


HMP & YOI Deerbolt,
Bowes Road,
Barnard Castle,
DL12 9BG

Click on the blue question below to see the answers appear underneath. 

Contact details

Visitor centre: 01833 633272
Visitor centre email:  use contact form to email HERE 
Prison: 01833 633200
Visits booking line: 01833 633349   
Visits booking email:

How can I write to or contact the prisoner?

You can write to the prisoner, using her name and number. A prisoner will keep the same prison number during her time in prison and will not change, even if she changes prison.

If you want to contact a prisoner but are not sure of his/her number or whereabouts, you can contact the Prisoner Location Service with their name, date of birth, relationship and reason you would like make contact.

You can also contact the prisoner using email.

Find out more about the prisoner location service and emailaprisoner HERE.

When can I visit?

Prison visiting times are between 1.30pm and 3.45pm every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

There is a staggered start time for visits and visitors will receive at least an hour visit.

How can I book a visit?

If you would like to book a visit:

Telephone 01833 633349 (Visits booking line)

You can only book a visit if your details are on the prisoner’s contact sheet. 

The booking line is open 9am to 12noon, Monday to Friday.

Visits can also be booked in the visitors’ centre on a Thursday. Forms are completed by families and passed to visitors’ centre staff. When you return to the visitors’ centre (after the visit) you will have a completed booking form for your next visit.

Where can I wait when I arrive for my visit?

When you arrive at the prison you must go to the Visitor and Family Support Centre. The centre is open every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday between 12noon and 4.15pm.

A tea bar, where you can buy snacks and drinks, is provided in both the Visitors' Centre and the Prison visits hall.

There is a staggered start time for visits and visitors will receive at least an hour visit.

How can I get there?

By train: The nearest train station is Darlington. You will then need to travel by bus or taxi to the prison in Barnard Castle.

By bus: Arriva Bus number 75 or 76 departs Darlington twice an hour. The return journey also departs Barnard Castle twice an hour. The journey takes approximately 55 minutes.
You can download bus timetables from the Arriva website here.

By Car: Barnard Castle is situated just off the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith.

Please note that access to the prison has now changed. Please access the prison visitors car park off Bowes Road, follow the signposts. There are a number of parking spaces for visitors close to the prison including disabled parking. If the car park is full there is on street parking close to the prison. Please do not park in the staff car park.

Please follow signs to the visitors centre on arrival.

What facilities are there for children?

There is a play area available within the visitors’ centre and in the visits’ hall, staffed by our play workers, who will provide activities for the children during the visit. 

Please note the play area is not a crèche; parents should watch and be responsible for their children at all times. Please introduce your children to the play facilitator and let them know which table you are seated at.

Do you run any special family visits?

Special father/child/sibling visits run approximately every six weeks and there are three special family days per year, which take place during school holidays.

At Deerbolt we recognise that being a father is special and meeting your child for the first time is personal and can be quite emotional. Our new father visits are a special one-off visit, for new fathers to meet their child for the first time in private away from the main visits hall.

What ID documents will I need?

Without your Visiting Order (VO) and ID you will be refused entry.

Acceptable forms of identification

Visitors may identify themselves using ONE of the following:

  • Passport, where the photograph is still recognisable

  • Driving license with photo

  • Senior Citizen's Public Transport Pass issued by a local authority

  • Employer's ID card, but only if this clearly shows the name of the visitor and the employer or educational establishment and has a photograph or signature which can be compared with the visitor's appearance or signature, and if the employer or educational establishment is known to exist

  • EU identity card / UK Citizen Card

All of the above forms of ID must display a photograph.

If the visitor is unable to produce one of the above, staff may accept combinations of TWO or more of the following:

  • Rail or buss pass with photo

  • Employer's pass or ID card not acceptable above

  • Young person's 'proof of age' card

  • Trade Union or National Student's Union membership card

  • European Community ID card

  • Birth / Marriage Certificate

  • Cheque book or credit / debit card (counts as one, not acceptable as two)

  • Rent Book

  • Foreign Identity or residents card

  • NHS Medical Card 

How often am I able to visit?

The number of times that you can visit a prisoner depends on the privilege level he has been placed on:




2 normal visits every 28 days – which can be used on a Thursday, Saturday or Sunday


2 normal visits per 28 days – which can be used on a Thursday, Saturday or Sunday - plus 1 PVO which can only be used on a Thursday


2 normal visits per 28 days – which can be used on a Thursday, Saturday or Sunday - plus 3 PVOs which can only be used on a Thursday

How many people are allowed on each visit?

Only 3 adults (anyone aged 10 and over) with up to 3 accompanying children (under 10) may visit. All visitors full names must be submitted.

What can I take into the visit?

You can only take five things into the Prison visits hall with you:

  • Up to £20 per adult (over 18) in notes or coins (no £20 notes)

  • A white APV form to be stamped

  • A baby's bottle (if required)

  • Personal medication (this will be held by the visits’ staff during the visit)

  • Visits locker key

Ensure you have a £1 coin for your locker.

Will I be searched?

All visitors to Deerbolt are subject to searching, which is similar to a domestic airport.

Visitors are searched by staff of the same gender, although male visitors can be searched by female staff, unless they request otherwise.

Children and babies are also subject to search. If your baby is searched, this will be done by a female officer in front of you. You may be asked to remove their nappy, but a new one will be provided.

Passive drug dogs are deployed at Deerbolt: if your child is frightened of dogs you should inform staff. The dogs are friendly and do not bark or jump up.

Visitors with religious clothing or headwear are subject to searching. This is done in private by staff of the same gender. You will be given plenty of time to replace your headwear.

All visitors over 12 must wear a wristband, provided for the visit.

Can I take anything for the person I am visiting?

Visitors are not allowed to hand over property during a visit. You are able to leave books for prisoners to read at the visitors’ centre and then after searching, the books will be given to the prisoner.

What items can I send to the prisoner?

You can post in letters, boxers, socks and photographs (suitable content - child protection measures apply). Letters and photographs are photocopied before being handed to the person.

Any package or parcel will need to be clearly marked 'Boxers and socks' or 'books' for this to be accepted into the prison, opened, searched and issued.

The prisoner can purchase other items (including clothing, books etc) themselves from the prison canteen and other approved suppliers. Please ask the visitors’ centre staff to see a copy of the approved list.

Men are not allowed to have clothing, stamped addressed envelopes, stamps, DVDs, gaming stations, CDs etc sent into the prison. 

Applications can be made to the Governor for exceptional circumstances such as funeral clothes or medical aids.

How can I send money to the prisoner?

Send Money to a Prisoner digital service.

Family and friends are now able to log on to an online electronic system to send money to a prisoner.  When you log in you will need to set up a ‘payee’ very much like you would when you do your internet banking.  To do this you need the prisoner’s number and date of birth.  Once you have input these into the online form and the system has checked this against NOMIS, if the details match, the money will then appear on the prison’s internal spreadsheet (an admin tool) the following morning for approval.  The system also gives you an option to pay via a debit card. 

Once the money has been approved it should appear within 1-3 days in the prisoner’s bank account.

By transferring money online it means the money is transferred more quickly, there are less processes and there is no physical handling of money for staff. 

It is currently unclear at this point in time if there is a minimum or maximum that can be sent via the system.

Click here for the online information/ site to start sending money

It is also still possible to send cheques and postal orders into the prison. 

How can I write or contact the prisoner?

You can write to the prisoner, using his name and number. A prisoner will keep the same prison number during his time in prison and will not change, even if he changes prison.

If you want to contact a prisoner but are not sure of his number or whereabouts, you can contact the Prisoner Location Service with his name, date of birth, relationship and reason you would like make contact.

Prisoner Location Service, PO Box 2152, Birmingham, B15 1SD
Or visit

You can also contact the prisoner using the Email a prisoner service. Find out more here.

Can he phone or write to me?

The prisoner is able to telephone his family/friends during association (time away from their cells). They are also able to write cards or letters.  
For more information on the use of telephone calls, please click here

Who do I contact if I have concerns about a prisoner?

If you have any concerns about a prisoner, please speak to a prison officer, any staff or volunteers at the family support visitors centre or ring the prison switchboard on 01833 633 200. You can also contact the prison safer custody team direct on 01833 633212 and leave a message. 

Our family support visitors centre team can be contacted on Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays on 01833 633 272.

Can I get help with the cost of visiting?

There is an Assisted Prison Visits Scheme to help with the costs of visiting prison. The scheme is available visitors on certain benefits, tax credits or a low wage. 

An application pack is available from the Family Support and Visitors’ Centre, where a member of staff can help you complete the form.

Tel: 03000 632 100 (open 10.15am to 11.45am and 2.15pm to 3.45pm Mon - Fri)

Email: or visit

For more information about visiting please get in touch with the visitors’ centre on 01833 633272.

Send us an enquiry