HMP_DurhamDurham Visitor Centre

Address:

HMP Durham Visitors' Centre,
Durham,
DH1 3HU

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

Visits restart at HMP Durham on 17 September 2020

HMP Durham and Nepacs are pleased to be able to start and offer face to face visits.

We understand the positive impact that seeing family members will have on those that reside at HMP Durham. A great deal of work and planning has gone into allowing HMP Durham to restart visits in the safest way for all. 

Property
HMP Durham are not currently in a position to allow property to be handed in or out during our visits. This is to ensure no cross contamination of COVID 19. Any future updates will be announced on the Nepacs website. We understand that this may be frustrating however these measures are to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Refreshments
Refreshments will also unfortunately not be available throughout the visits journey, and this includes the Visitors’ Centre. This again is to reduce any chance of cross contamination during the visits session. 

Social Distancing
During your visit HMP Durham you will see various new measures that have been put in place. This means that all visitors must adhere to the new signage, rules and policies. All visiting groups, staff, and the person you are visiting must adhere to social distancing to allow us to protect each and every one of us.

To ensure that social distancing is maintained throughout the visit journey, all visitors will be given a time for arrival at the visitors’ centre. Please ensure that you arrive at your scheduled time as visitors will not be admitted before their arrival time and late arrivals will result in the visit being cancelled.

All of our social visits will be none contact which again allows us to keep everyone safe. Failure to comply with this measure will result in your visit being terminated.

Face Masks
All visitors will also be required to wear face coverings throughout the visit journey. You will be required to provide your own face covering as if you were visiting shops or travelling on public transport.

We understand that not everyone is required to wear face coverings if they have a disability or illness however HMP Durham will require proof that you are exempt from wearing one if you are to be allowed into the visits hall. This measure is in place to prevent further outbreaks and keep all safe. 

HMP Durham are also following PHE guidance on face coverings for children
With this in mind Children aged under three years of age are not recommended to wear face coverings or masks due to the effects this can have on breathing and also the choking risk. At this stage in the process we will not not allow anyone under the age of 3 access if they have a face covering. This is to ensure that we are preventing any possible risk.

The wearing of face coverings/masks is not compulsory in any public setting for children aged 3-11 so HMP Durham will allow parents to use their own discretion.

All adults and children who are 11 years and above must wear face coverings unless they have proved they are exempt. If you are exempt and can prove this you are required to advise us at time of booking your visit and proof to be brought to your visits session.

Hand Washing
The prison have also introduced processes which require the use of hand washing facilities, hand sanitiser and anti-virus wipes. All visitors including children are required to wash and sanitise their hands at designated points throughout the process. Hand sanitiser is available in the visits entry and visits hall. 

This process must be followed and failure to do so will result in your visit being cancelled. These measures again are to keep everyone safe.

Symptom Testing
On arrival you will be required to answer some short questions about COVID-19 symptoms and a temperature check will also be required prior to leaving the Visitors’ Centre. 

If any member of the visiting group is symptomatic, all visitors will be declined access to the visit.

If you or any member of the visiting party has symptoms of COVID-19 they must not attend their visit. 

Visitors from areas subject to local lockdown or travel restrictions should not travel as per government guidelines. HMP Durham Visits will be suspended if the prison is subject to local lockdown or travel restrictions and notification of this will be sent to all.
 

Further Information
The Old Elvet Bridge in Durham City, is closed for 14 months. This may impact on your journey. Please check online for diversions and alternative routes to the prison.

Thank you for your cooperation in regards to the new measures in place and please help us keep all those that reside, visit and work at HMP Durham safe from COVID 19.

Contact details

Visitor centre: 0191 3323676, Monday to Sunday 9am to 2pm.  If you would like to speak to someone please contact the Family Support Team in HMP Durham on 0191 332 3518 and leave a message if you don't get an immediate response. The line is checked Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm.
Visitor centre email: use contact form to email HERE  (you cannot use this email address to book visits - see email below)
Prison: 0191 3323400

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

If you have any serious concerns about a person in HMP Durham you should call the prison switchboard on 0191 3323400, and ask for Safer Custody or email safercustodydurham@justice.gov.uk   All information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.  

If you have been pressurised to bring anything illegal into the prison then you can leave a confidential, anonymous, message by calling 0191 3323400 and selecting option 4.

Staff and volunteers at the visitor centre are all there to help you.  We will do our best to assist you with any question or concern you have. Nothing is too small! 

You can also contact the Family Support Team in HMP Durham on 0191 332 3518 if you would like someone to speak to, have any questions or require support. Leave a message if you don't get an immediate response. The line is checked Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm.

When can I visit?

Visits to HMP Durham are restarting on 17 September 2020.

Prison visit times are:

  • Monday – Sunday 09.15am to 10am and 2pm to 2.45pm

Length of visits: Each visit will be 45minutes and prisoners are entitled to one visit per month.

The visiting times are a guide only, there is no guarantee of entering or leaving the visits hall at these times. These times are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control.

Check out details further down this page for information on who can visit and how many visitors can attend.

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

How can I book a visit?

Social visits to HMP Durham will restart on 17 September 2020.

Please be aware the booking process is changing. 

Going forward it will be up to the prisoner to request a visit.

The booking team will then contact the chosen visitor to confirm the visit date/time. 

The booking line number (01913323417) is now out of service and any queries should be sent to socialvisits.durham@justice.gov.uk or alternatively call the Visitor’s Centre on 01913323676.

Where can I wait when I arrive for my visit?

When you arrive at the prison you must go to the Nepacs Visitors’ Centre.         

To ensure that social distancing is maintained throughout the visit journey, all visitors will be given a time for arrival at the visitors’ centre. Please ensure that you arrive at your scheduled time as visitors will not be admitted before their arrival time and late arrivals will result in the visit being cancelled.

Social Distancing
During your visit you will see various new measures that have been put in place. This means that all visitors must adhere to the new signage, rules and policies. All visiting groups, staff, and the person you are visiting must adhere to social distancing to allow the prison and Nepacs to protect each and every one of us.

All of our social visits will be none contact which again allows us to keep everyone safe. Failure to comply with this measure will result in your visit being terminated.

Face coverings:

All adults and children who are 11 years and above must wear face coverings throughout the visit journey unless they have proved they are exempt. You will be required to provide your own face covering as if you were visiting shops or travelling on public transport. 

If you are exempt and can prove this you are required to advise us at time of booking your visit and proof to be brought to your visits session.

Hand hygiene:

The prison have also introduced processes which require the use of hand washing facilities, hand sanitiser and anti-virus wipes. All visitors including children are required to wash and sanitise their hands at designated points throughout the process. Hand sanitiser is available in the visits entry and visits hall. 

This process must be followed and failure to do so will result in your visit being cancelled. These measures again are to keep everyone safe.

Facilities:

There are toilets, baby changing facilities, disabled access and disabled parking (limited spaces).

Children under the age of 18 years are not permitted to remain in the visitors' centre when their parent/guardian are on a visit. 

You will need £1 for a locker key deposit.

Staff and volunteers at the visitor centre are all there to help you.  We will do our best to assist you with any question or concern you have, and to provide information and support.

Refreshments and play area facilities will unfortunately not be available at present throughout the visits journey, and this includes the Visitors’ Centre. This is to reduce any chance of cross contamination during the visits session. 

How can I get there?

Plan your route and check you will arrive in good time for the visit. If you are driving, you will need change for the parking meters (free on Sundays!).

The New Elvet Bridge in Durham City, is closed for 14 months. This may impact on your journey. Please check online for diversions and alternative routes to the prison.

The bus and train station are both about a 30 minute walk from the visitors’ centre.

Buses

There is a limited bus service between the bus station on North Road and the bottom of Old Elvet (5 minutes' walk from the Visitors’ Centre). Ask at the bus station for more details.

Park and ride

There are three park and rides in Durham which cost £3 per day. Tel 0191 3741702 or email parkingservices@durham.gov.uk

Walking from the train or bus station, directions:

From the train station, walk down the hill and turn left. Go straight across the roundabout in front of you, into ‘North Road’, which leads into the city centre.

From the bus station in North Road, turn right onto North Road

  • Head towards the city centre.

  • Where North Road forks, follow the slip road to the right (near Iceland) into the City Centre. This leads into ‘Silver Street’, a pedestrian area.

  • Head across Framwellgate Bridge and up a slight hill into the Market Place. Turn right at the Market Place, into ‘Saddler Street’ (next to NatWest).

  • Follow this road for a short distance and turn left where the pedestrian walkway leads down a hill (there are some steps at the top of this hill). You will go across Elvet Bridge and there are some traffic lights at the bottom of this hill.

  • Head straight across the road into ‘Old Elvet’. The Royal County Hotel is situated on the left hand side. Follow this road for approx. 1/4 mile. The Visitor centre is located on the left, almost opposite the main entrance to HMP Durham.

Where can we park?

Parking in the visitor centre is for permit holders only.  We would suggest if you can, to park at the top of the hill where it is cheaper.  (The visitors’ centre will be on the left hand side of you).

There are two spaces available for disabled drivers at the visitors’ centre. In order to use these spaces you will need to advise staff at the reception desk, who will ask you to complete our parking form quoting your car registration number and your disability registration. The blue badge must be placed in the windscreen of your car.  Please note, the driver must be the holder of the disabled badge. If you do not register with our staff you may receive a parking ticket. 

What facilities are there for children?

At present, to help keep everyone safe and to reduce the risk of cross contamination of COVID-19 our play areas in the visitors centre and prison visits hall will remain closed and we are not able to provide play equipment during visits.

Parents/guardians must supervise children at all times in the visitors centre and visits’ hall.

Children under the age of 18 years are not allowed to remain in the visitors' centre when their parent/guardian attends a visit. 

Do you run any special family visits?

Please note the father/child and family learning visits are cancelled until further notice.  

What ID documents will I need?

You will be called, usually by number, when the officers are ready to check your ID and take your photo. Everyone needs to have ID checked on every visit. Only adults and children over 10 will have their photos taken.

Please note that you will have your ID checked each time you visit, so you should always bring it with you!

The following forms of ID are acceptable; all must be valid:    

  • Passport                                                                               

  • Driving licence    

  • Benefits book                                                                    

  • Senior citizen public transport pass issued by Local Authority

  • European/EC identity card    

  • Birth certificate

  • Annual public transport season ticket with photo card                                         

  • Employers ID card or Student 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, and if the employer named on the card is known to exist.                                                                                                       

Or three or more of the following:                                                       

  • Birth certificate 

  • Marriage certificate                    

  • Citizen card

  • Cheque book or credit/debit card (counts as one form of ID)

  • Employer's pass or ID card or Student ID card - not acceptable under list above

  • Young person's proof of age card

  • Rent book                     

  • Foreign identity or resident's card (other than EC ID cards)

For children the following forms of ID are acceptable: birth certificate, passport, child benefit letter or tax credit letter as long as they carry the child’s details.

How often am I able to visit?

All visits are 45 minutes and prisoners are entitled to 1 visit per month. Prisoners are not entitled to a visit during the first 14 days in HMP Durham.

Who is allowed to visit?

Visits will only be allowed by people who are symptom free, who have not been asked to self-isolate and who have not recently come into contact with anyone who has symptoms or is self-isolating.  Visits will prioritise re-establishing face-to-face contact with close family members (or significant others)  this may comprise of one of the following grouping combinations only:


- A single adult (aged 18 or over) who must be: a partner, parent, foster-parent, grandparent, carer, or significant other.

- Two adults (aged 18 or over) who must be: two parents, two foster parents, two grandparents, two adult immediate relatives or significant other1, or a mixture of these (e.g. a parent and a grandparent), but all visitors must live together as part of the same household. 

- A single adult (aged 18 or over)  who must be: a partner, parent, foster-parent, grandparent, carer or adult close relative or significant other; and  up to two dependent children (e.g. son, daughter) of the person being visited. All visitors (adult and children) must live together as part of the same household.

- Two adults (aged 18 or over) who must be: two parents, two foster parents, two grandparents, two adult immediate relatives or significant other1, or a mixture of these (e.g. a parent and a grandparent); and one dependent child (e.g. son, daughter) of the person being visited
All visitors must live together as part of the same household.

 Please note: Significant Others might include partners, carers or an individual on whom the person in prison relies on for emotional support.
 Where parents are not living together but are part of the same household bubble for a dependent child both parents will be allowed to visit.

You cannot visit unless you are on the prisoner's approved visitor list.

Anyone who is on the prisoner’s approved visitor list may book a visit. If you are not on the approved list then you should ask the prisoner to submit your details to the prison - the prisoner will need full name/address/date of birth/relationship. The prison then approves you and adds your details on to the system. Getting added to someone’s visitor list usually takes 7-10 days. This system is designed to give the prisoner some choice and control over who visits him.

Please note: children/babies must also be on the approved visitor list before attending.

Is there a dress code?

HMP Durham operates a family orientated visits policy. The majority of visitors are accompanied by children and the prison promote a safe, decent and relaxed family environment.

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 over the age of 10 years:  

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

- Inappropriately damaged clothing

- Metal hair accessories

- Steel toe capped shoes/boots or cycle/motorcycle shoes

- Non-prescription glasses i.e. sunglasses

- See-through (transparent) clothing

- Ripped jeans/trousers

- Low cut or revealing tops

- Cropped tops that reveal the navel area 

- Male vests of any kind

- Items of clothing that display offensive, abusive or insulting words or gestures

- Football shirts

- Mini or very short skirts/dresses unless worn with leggings

- Shorts which are hot pant length - all shorts must be mid thigh to knee length

- Smart watches 

Locker facilities are located in the Visitors’ Centre for outer garments and personal effects.  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.

What can I take into the visit?

Before you go up to the visits area you must empty your pockets and put all your property in a locker. The only thing you can take with you is a locker key.

You will need £1 for a locker key deposit. 

If you have anything else with you, you will be sent back, and may miss the visit.

Baby/toddler items

You cannot take nappies, tissues and wipes with you to the prison visits room.

Baby milk can no longer be brought to visits, so babies must be fed prior to arrival for the visit. 

If you have any prescription medicines that you will need on your visit or any other queries, please talk to the staff in the centre before you go up or when you are contacted about the visit.

Will I be searched?

All visitors to HMP Durham 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. If your baby is wrapped in a blanket, the blanket will have to be left in the search area.

Passive drug dogs are sometimes deployed at Durham: 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.

How will I be searched?

You will walk through a portal/scanner and then be patted down by a member of staff. Coats and jewellery will be checked by hand or machine. 

Please note, if you need the toilet once you are on the visit, you will have to go through the search process again, however you will also be asked to remove your footwear so your feet are checked and you will be asked to open your mouth.

Can I take anything in for the person I am visiting?

HMP Durham are not currently in a position to allow property to be handed in or out during our visits. This is to ensure no cross contamination of COVID 19. Any future updates will be announced on this website. We understand that this may be frustrating however these measures are to keep you and your loved ones safe.

What items can I send to the prisoner?

You are not allowed to post anything or drop anything off for the prisoner  - other than letters, cards etc. Any clothing or other items that the prisoner needs must be ordered through the prison canteen and payment made from their prison bank account.

No items of clothing will be accepted by the prison.  

If you have any questions please contact our Nepacs visits team for advice on 0191 332 3676 or family support on 0191 332 3518.

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. 

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

https://www.gov.uk/send-prisoner-money

Durham Prison are still accepting cheques and postal orders. 

How much money can I send in?

Prisoners are allocated £3 a week regardless of their status. They earn extra if they work within the prison. You may send in as much as you like but the amount they can access each week depends on their status.

On remand:  Entry level £35.00, Standard £47.50, Enhanced £51.00     

Sentenced:   Entry level £10.00,   Standard £15.15, Enhanced £25.50

How can I write to 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.

You can also contact the prisoner using email.

  • Email a prisoner: www.emailaprisoner.com

  • Use E-postman to send letters electronically to the person you know - and for them to be able to quickly reply to you. Find out more at https://e-postman.co.uk/

  • Ue prison voicemail. For information and costs associated with this service, click here

Find out more HERE.

Can he phone or write to me?

The prisoner is able to telephone his family/friends from his cell, if he has bought phone credit and had your telephone number cleared with security. 

They are also able to write cards or letters, or send an email (see How can I write to or contact the prisoner? above).  

Can I get help with the cost of visiting?

If you are on benefits or a low income you may be able to get help with the cost of visiting. Ask a member of staff in the visitor centre for a booklet and claim forms (and keep any petrol receipts or tickets you have from todays travel).

Find out more HERE.

Or you can contact the Assisted Prison Visits for more advice.

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

Email: assisted.prison.visits@hmps.gsi.gov.uk or visit www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk

It is a good idea to fill in a Proof of Visit form to take up on your first visit, just in case you decide to make a claim.

For more information about visiting please get in touch with the visitors’ centre on 0191 3323676.

Send us an enquiry