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: - not currently available

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. 

If you would like to speak to a member of the Nepacs visitors centre team contact 01833 633272. However if it is urgent please use the safer custody number above.

How can I book a visit?

If you would like to book a visit:

Telephone 01833 633349 (Visits booking line) 

The email booking system is not currently in use.

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.

When can I visit?

Visiting slots are currently one hour in duration and are available at the following time, and on the following days: 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday


Currently there is only one visit per prisoner, per month permitted.

All visitors aged 11 and over need to wear a face covering entering and leaving the prison.

Refreshments are available to purchase from the visitors centre and in the visits hall.

Please note that prisoners are not able to have a visit until after 14 days of arriving at the prison.

Please arrive for your appointment at the correct time. Do not be late or early as we are aiming to reduce the number of people in the visitors centre by staggering arrival times. 

How often am I able to visit?

At present each prisoner is entitled to one visit session per month.

This is to enable the prison to meet the demand for visits and ensure fair access to prisoners.

How many people are allowed on each visit?

Who can receive visits?

All prisoners except those subject to isolation or new arrivals in their first 14 days in custody. 

Who can visit?

Up to 3 people can visit at a time, including children. All visitors must be on the prisoner's approved contact list.

What facilities are there for children?

Please note the play area in the visits hall and visitors centre remains closed until further notice to help reduce opportunities for transmission of COVID-19.

Parents/guardians should watch and be responsible for their children at all times and ensure that they follow the social distancing guidelines in place. Children under the age of 11 years are allowed to have physical contact (such as a hug) with the prisoner during visits. Older children can have contact during the visit if they have provided evidence of a negative lateral flow test. 

Activity packs are available for children in the visitors centre, during visits and to take home after their visit.

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 

Can I get help with the cost of visiting?

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

Apply online here: 

If you have any questions about the scheme or would like some help contact our visitors centre team on 01833 633272.

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. Please do not park in the staff car park.

Please follow signs to the visitors centre on arrival.  

Where can I wait when I arrive for my visit?

Please make your way to the visitors centre on arrival where you can book in for your visit, purchase light refreshments and use the facilities available. 

Lockers are available in the visitors centre (you will need a £1 coin) where you can leave all your personal belongings - which are not allowed to be taken into the prison.

Our staff and volunteers are on hand to answer any questions, offer support and for a friendly chat.

Please arrive on time and do not be late as this may prevent your visit from going ahead. 

If you would like to speak to a member of our visitors centre team please call 01833 633272.

What can I take into the visit?

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

  • One clear bottle of milk will be permitted for babies along with any changing materials.  

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

  • Visits locker key

  • £10 in coins

Everything else should be left in your car or lockers provided - including your ID. 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.

Am I allowed physical contact with the prisoner during visits?

Adults and visitors over 11 years are only allowed to have physical contact with the prisoner on visits if they have provided evidence of a negative COVID/lateral flow test on the day of the visit. You should take the test at home on the day of your visit or the day before, and bring the evidence of the negative test with you - an email or text message from the NHS or third party provider. 

Visitors who do not provide proof of a negative test will need to maintain social distancing (2 metres apart) to help reduce the risks to prisoners, staff and other visitors. If this is breached then the visit will end and future visits may be restricted or limited.

There are no restrictions to the contact children under 11 can have. Children can leave their seat but will need to stay in the area marked out during this visit. 

Can I take or send anything in for the prisoner?

Visitors are not allowed to hand over property during a visit. 

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, games consoles, CDs etc sent into the prison. 

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

Who can I contact if my family needs support?

Our visits team are available to offer a listening ear and support to families and loved ones. Please speak to a member of the team when you visit or contact 01833 633272.

The prison also provide family support to prisoners and their loved ones. Contact the prison on 01833 633200 and ask for family support. 

Our visits team also run family/loved one support and information groups called Visitors Voice. These take place in the visitors centre prior to visits. If you would like to find out more or book a place please speak to a member of the visits team or call the centre on 01833 633272. Look out for dates of the meetings in the visitors centre when you next visit. 

How can I keep in touch with the prisoner?

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

You can also keep in touch with the prisoner using:

  • Letters or cards - these will be photocopied and the copy passed to the prisoner. The originals are kept in the prisoner's property for when they are released. 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.
  • Email a prisoner: Find out more about the prisoner location service and emailaprisoner HERE.
  • Video calls -  Each video call is 30 minutes in duration. for up to 4 people. The lead caller must be over 18 years old. The costs of the video calls are currently free. Families and friends can access the service by downloading the “Purple Visits” app on their smartphone or tablet – the rest of the instructions are clear from the app. Details on how to get started are HERE.

If you have any questions about keeping in touch with your loved one in prison please call our visitors centre team on 01833 633272.

How can I send money to the prisoner?

Family and friends are 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. 

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. 

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. These are currently cancelled due to COVID-19.

Our team are offering family activity packs during school holidays which can be posted to your home. Contact the team on 01833 633272 or speak to a member of the visitors centre team when you next visit. 

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

Send us an enquiry