Deerbolt Visitor Centre


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

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


Please see below and attached HERE a letter for families of prisoners in HMP Deerbolt regarding an update to Covid testing requirements.

Letter to Families 31 March 2022 – HMP Deerbolt

As you will know, from Friday 1st April regular COVID testing of people in the wider community will come to an end and you will no longer be able to access testing kits for free. This is part of the Government’s plans to move forward from the pandemic and start to live with COVID.

As a result of this change, from 1st April you will no longer be required to take a COVID test before coming to see your loved one for a visit.

However, if there is an outbreak in this prison, or we receive advice from heath experts about a change in risk of infection we may have to bring testing before visits back again for a short time to protect you, staff and your loved one. If this does happen we will make sure you are told as early as possible, and test kits will be offered at the prison.

As the number of COVID infections in the community are still quite high, we have to keep the other measures we have in place to keep everyone safe during visits such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing. It is no longer a requirement to test but we would still please encourage you to take a test, if you can access one, before you come to the prison to help us to minimise the risk of COVID-19 coming into the prison.

We still need to protect the health of your loved one, and everyone else living and working here. So if you or anyone else coming on the visit with you takes a test and it gives a positive result, we will not be able to let you come in for a visit.

if you are showing symptoms or have recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID we also ask that you do not come to the prison until these subside. This is to protect your loved ones in prison.

The symptoms are available via GOV.UK: COVID-19: people with COVID-19 and their contacts - GOV.UK (

If a visit does need to be cancelled for any of these reasons then we would encourage you to think about other ways to stay in touch like secure social video calls, letters and telephone calls until you can come and have a visit again. Any visits that can’t take place will be re-booked at the earliest opportunity.

Staying in touch with someone in prison: Letters, video and telephone calls - GOV.UK (

We are currently considering our longer term plans for testing our staff and people in prison as a result of the move away from routine testing in the community and still intend to use testing in prisons to protect the most vulnerable.

Thank you for your continued patience and co-operation.

If you would like someone to talk to or have any questions please contact our visits team on 01833 633272 or get in touch with our helpline 0800 012 1539 Email:  Text: 07983437457

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

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 12 and over need to wear a face covering entering and leaving the prison. 

Refreshments are available in the visitors centre and during the visit (table service only). Our play areas are currently closed.

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.

At present, all visitors aged 12 and over must wear a face mask throughout the visit, which can only be removed when eating or drinking.

Is there a dress code for visitors?

HMP YOI Deerbolt operates a family orientated visits policy. To maintain decency in the visits hall the prison requests that visitors are of an acceptable standard of dress when visiting. This is to prevent inappropirate clothing being worn in and around the presence of other visits and staff.

Please note, if you are unable to meet the requirements of the dress code, on arrival you will not be permitted to enter the establishment until you have changed into appropriate, alternative clothing. 

The following items of clothing should NOT be worn by anyone visiting a loved one in prison (this includes children):  

 - Hats, headbands, gloves or scarves and head covering which are not worn on religious grounds

- Non-prescription glasses i.e. sunglasses

- Smart watches or fitness trackers

Locker facilities are located in the visitors centre and all outer garments and personal items much be placed in the lockers prior to going on a visit. Visitors are reminded that staff are required to search visitors as a condition of entry and that all visits take place at the discretion of the visits manager.

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 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.  

What ID documents will I need?

Without your Visiting Order (VO) and ID you will be refused entry. ID is required by anyone aged 16 years and over. See details below.

Acceptable forms of identification

Social visitors have the option to present one photographic ID document from List A:

  • Passports
  • Identity cards from an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • UK photocard driving licences
  • EU or EEA driving licences
  • NI Electoral identity cards
  • US passport card
  • Proof of age card recognised under PASS with a unique reference number (This includes the Citizen ID card)
  • Armed forces identity card
  • UK biometric residence permit (BRP)

Should they be unable to present an ID document from List A, they may present one ID document from List B, supported by one document from List C:

List B:

  • Home Office travel document (convention travel document, stateless person’s document, one-way document or certificate of travel)
  • Older person’s bus pass
  • Freedom Pass
  • Proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards
  • Scheme (PASS) without a unique reference number (please refer to List A where a unique reference number is present)

List C:

  • Birth or adoption certificate
  • Education certificate from a regulated and recognised educational institution (such as an NVQ, SQA, GCSE, A level or degree certificate)
  • Rental or purchase agreement for a residential property (signed and dated)
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Bank, building society or credit union current account card (on which the claimed identity is shown)

All forms of ID must be originals, photocopies will not be accepted. If visitors fail to bring identification they will not be allowed into the prison.

Everyone needs photographic ID on every visit they attend to enable them to go on a social visit.

If you don’t have photographic ID please check out the websites below: (current cost is £15) (Standard costs £15 but takes 21 days and urgent application costs £30 and could take up to 1-2 working days. When purchasing the card to be used for prison visits, you will be eligible for a 50% discount, making the cards cost £7.50 instead of £15.) 

Unfortunately if you do not have any photographic ID you will NOT be able to go have your social visit. 

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. Physical contact is not currently allowed during the visit and masks must be worn by anyone aged 12 and over. 

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

If you would ike to receive an activity pack sent to your home please speak to the visitors centre team.

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.

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. 

Masks must be worn throughout your visit, but can be removed to eat or drink.

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. 

Refreshments are also available to purchase during your visit, table service only.

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?

Limited physical contact is not currently allowed during the visits and social distancing must be maintained.

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.

What health care services are available to prisoners?

Health care for prisoners in HMP Deerbolt is currently provided by Reconnected To Health (RTH).

RTH is a partnership made up of Spectrum CIC (general healthcare), Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust/TEWV (mental health services) and Humankind (drug and alcohol services).

If a prisoner has a concern, they must let a member of healthcare staff know.

Please see their website for frequently asked questions and answers about health care provision for prisoners in north east prisons. Find out more here:

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 their name and number. A prisoner will keep the same prison number during their time in prison and will not change, even if they change 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 Prison Video app on your phone or tablet device. For more information on how to get started please visit or

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