HMP_Northumberland_Visitors_CentreHMP Northumberland Visitor Centre

Address:

HMP Northumberland,
Acklington,
Morpeth,
Northumberland.
NE65 9XG

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

Contact details

Visitors’ centre: 01670 383736. Details of our free telephone helpline and other support HERE. 

Visitors’ centre email: use contact form to email HERE 
Prison: 01670 383100 
Visits booking line: Visits are booked by prisoners and it is their responsibility to inform their visitors of when they are.

How can I book a visit?

Prisoners are responsible for booking their own visits on kiosks in their House Blocks and for informing their visitors of when this visit is. 

If you have any questions about the visit procedure, ID needed and requirements to meet social distancing guidelines please contact the visitors centre on 01670 383736. The visitors centre team will try to contact you to go through what you need to know before your visit, including ID etc but we recommend that you ring the centre before your visit.

When can I visit?

Visits take place Wednesday to Friday and morning visits take place on Saturday and Sunday. All visits are booked as normal by residents via the Kiosk. Visits are as follows:

Wednesday - Friday
2pm - 4pm Visits session

Saturday - Sunday
Morning Session
9am - 11am Visits session

Saturday and Sunday
Afternoon Session
2pm - 4pm Visits session

The resident must book the visit 48 hours prior to your visit so the prison can contact you to explain the new Covid 19 visit procedures.

Please arrive at the visitors centre at least 30 minutes before the start of your visit. The visitors centre will not open until the agreed time.

Residents will be informed by staff upon arrival where to sit and how to access their table as there are strict measures in place to ensure 2m social distancing is maintained.

Residents subject to shielding may receive a social visit as long as social distancing measures are adhered to. 

After each 2 hour visit the visitors will be asked to leave the hall.

How often am I able to visit?

To maximise visits opportunities and to be fair to all, each resident will be allowed one social visit per month at present - which will be 2 hours in duration. 

How many people are allowed on each visit?

Who cannot have a visit? 
- Symptomatic residents under isolation
- New residents (within the first 14 days) and those who are returning from external hospital who are required to spend 14 days isolated.

Who can visit? 

Visits will only be allowed by people who are symptom free and who have not been asked to self-isolate.  

Up to 3 close family members or significant others may visit. This could be:

  • A single adult - Aged 18 or over, who are a partner, parent, foster parent, grandparent, carer or significant other.
  • Two adults  - Aged 18 or over, who are two parents, two grandparents, two adult immediate relatives or significant other, or a mixture of these (e.g. a parent and grandparent).
  • Two adults and up to one dependent child - Aged 18 or over, who are: two parents, two foster parents, two grandchildren, two adult immediate relatives or significant other, 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. 
  • A single adult and up to two children - Aged 18 or over, who are the partner, parent, foster parent, grandparent, carer or adult close relative or significant other and up to two dependent children (e.g. son daughter).

Visitors from two households are permitted to visit a prisoner at the same time. 

Please note, visitors will have their temperature checked before entering the visitors centre and again before entering the prison, where all visitors will also be searched (as you would normally).

Face coverings 
All visitors aged over 11 years will be required to wear face coverings, provided by the prison, on arrival at the visitors centre and throughout the visit.

Can I have physical contact with the prisoner during visits?

If visitors would like physical contact with their loved one then proof of a negative Covid test (no more than 3 days old) is required, i.e. text or email from NHS. Lateral flow tests are currently available at the visitors centre, but visitors must come at least 30 minutes before their visiting time. Limited physical contact includes handshakes, handholding, hugs or kisses. Children under 11 years of age are permitted to have physical contact with the prisoner, such as a hug. 

Adults and visitors over 11 years who have not provided evidence of a negative lateral flow test will not be allowed to have physical contact with the prisoner on visits (including handshakes, handholding, hugs or kissing) and must maintain social distancing (2 metres apart). If this is breached then the visit will end and future visits may be restricted or limited.

Please follow the social distancing guidelines in place such as the one way systems, 2 metre queuing systems, distanced seating arrangements in the visits hall and keep 2 metres from other visiting parties.

How can I get there?

HMP Northumberland is approximately 12 miles north of Morpeth. We can give directions over the phone or post out directions and travel information. There is ample car parking in the visitors' car park. There are a small number of disabled spaces.

Buses - Service X18 runs hourly from Newcastle Haymarket and stops at the turning circle at the top of the road. Timetables are available in the Visitors' Centre.

What ID documents will I need?

ID is required for all visitors including children for every visit.

Acceptable ID includes photographic documents such as a passport, photocard driving licence, travel pass or company ID pass. Alternatively, a combination of non-photo ID such as utility bills, cheque book, ‘proof of age’ card etc, may be acceptable, at the discretion of the senior officer.

All visitors should also bring with them a proof of residence (such as utility bills, driving licence etc). 

Ask in the visitors’ centre for a list of suitable ID. 

Where can I wait when I arrive for my visit?

All visitors must book in at the Visitors’ Centre prior to their visit and must arrive in good time to be able to do this.

The centre is open:

- Wednesday to Friday from 1.15pm to 4.30pm

- Sunday from 8.30am to 12noon and 1pm to 4.30pm. 

On your first visit staff will take your fingerprints and photo for the computer system (known as biometrics) which will then be used every time you visit to confirm your identity. Identification is still required for every visitor including children.
Prison staff will check your VO. Visitors who do not bring identification will not be allowed in.

The Nepacs Visitors' Centre has a range of information and facilities for visitors, including:

  • Information boards / leaflets / signposting

  • Disabled access and parking to rear of building

  • Disabled toilet facilities

  • Light refreshments are not currently available in the visitors centre 

  • Lockers £1 deposit. Nepacs takes no responsibility for items left in lockers

  • Baby change room

  • Quiet room

  • Play area and youth zone for children (parents / carers are responsible for children at all times) - currently closed

  • Free parking for visitors.

Nepacs also provides a tea bar within the visits’ hall where you can buy light refreshments for yourself and the person you are visiting. Limited refreshments will be available during the visit (drinks only). These must be ordered and paid for in advance at the Visitor Centre.

We have a quiet room available in the Visitors’ Centre. If you require a place to pray or need some privacy please speak to a member of staff. If you want to talk in private please do ask.

Please inform the visitors’ centre if you are bringing a wheelchair into HMP Northumberland.

Who do I contact if my family need support?

If you have any questions about visits, concerns about a loved one, would like some support for you or your family, or would like to speak to someone please call our Nepacs visitors' centre team on 01670 383736 or our free helpline 0800 012 1539, email support@nepacs.co.uk or text: 07983437457.

If you would like support for yourself, your family or loved one in HMP Northumberland our family support team can help. Contact Nicola and Stephanie, by telephone 01670 383 100 or email Nicola.Collins3@justice.gov.uk or Stephanie.Austin@Justice.gov.uk

The Nepacs’ family support team at HMP Northumberland can work with a prisoner and their family to:

  • Provide advice and support to families to reduce barriers to visiting
  • Signpost families to relevant community services
  • Assist to establish or maintain family bonds
  • Mediate reconciliation with family members
  • Provide support in gaining access to children
  • Support with practical issues such as transport and childcare
  • Offer emotional support
  • Provide help to access special family days and father-child visits
  • Help access financial support for travel and family hardships
  • Support in preparing for home leave and release - including our Heading Home re:connect and re:settle programmes (which support prisoners and families before release)

We also hold regular Visitors’ Voice peer support sessions where visitors get together to support each other. On occasions a representative from the prison attends to explain what happens within different departments and to answer questions. Look out for details in the centre or find out more HERE.

What happens when it is time to go over to the prison?

Once your number is called staff hand you a VO and you go across to the main prison gate, through an external door called ‘Visitors’ Entrance’. Staff will check your fingerprints and your ID. You then go through security doors and will be searched. You will be searched by officers of either sex, unless you request to be searched by someone of the same sex. You will be asked to remove your face covering so that it can be searched.     

The visits room officers will allocate you a table and will supervise visits from various points around the room. CCTV is in operation. Physical contact between the prisoner and his visitors (over age 11 years) is not currently allowed, unless you have provided evidence of a negative lateral flow test at the visitors centre.  The prisoner should remain seated at all other times.

Normally there is a small play area and youth zone in the Visitors’ Centre and a play area within the main visits room in the prison.  However at this time, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the play area and youth zones will remain closed.

Please think very carefully about whether any children visiting will be able to observe social distancing and social contact rules. There will be no play area or toys available for them and children will need to remain seated throughout the visit. If children are unable to observe the social distancing arrangements the visit may need to be ended. (If two adults attend with a child and they anticipate difficulties with distancing, they may wish to agree in advance which of them will leave with the child if needed.  This would enable the other adult to continue the visit).

Parents and guardians remain responsible for their children at all times.

Toilet facilities are available and search procedures may be repeated after the use of these facilities.

What facilities are there for children and young people?

Normally there is a small play area and youth zone in the Visitors’ Centre and main visits room in the prison.  However at this time, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the play area and youth zones will remain closed.

Parents and guardians remain responsible for children at all times and must ensure that children remain in their seat during the visits, as much as possible. 

We are offering activity packs for children to take home with them after a visit. If you would like us to send your children a craft and activity pack home please contact the visits team on 01670 383736.

If you would like to access support for a young person aged 8years and over please contact youth@nepacs.co.uk or ask in the visitors centre. 

What can I take into the visit?

Visitors can take in:

  • Locker key

  • Prescribed medication

  • Tea bar receipt - for items pre-ordered in the visitors centre

  • ID

Lockers are available for a £1 deposit, as you can’t take personal possessions into the prison.

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

No property may be brought to the visits hall or handed in by visitors.

You can send in letters, plain lined paper, envelopes and greetings cards. However, no stamps.

If the prisoner has an application approved for clothing to be sent in, then loved ones can send a clothing package to the prisoner. There are rules around what items can be sent in - please ask in the visitors centre. 

Can I have a video call with the prisoner?

Video calls are available for prisoners and their families/contacts at HMP Northumberland.

Each video call is 30 minutes in duration.

Four people can be on the call, but the lead caller must be over 18 years old.

The costs of the video calls are free during the coronavirus pandemic.

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 and these frequently asked questions will be helpful. 

Can I get help with the cost of visiting?

You may be able to claim travel expenses if you are on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits.

Please ask at the desk in the Visitors’ Centre for details of the Help with Prison Visits Scheme before commencing your visit.  Staff can help you complete the form.  

Visit: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-prison-visits

If you have problems accessing the website ask the visitors centre for support.

How can I send money to the prisoner?

The online secure payment service enables you to send money electronically using a debit card.

This service enables the sender to deposit monies directly into the prisoner’s bank account so funds can be transferred quickly. This is a cheaper option than postal orders, cheques or cash.

Visit: www.secure.payment-services.com or tel +44 (0)3333 706550.

If you are unable to send money electronically then an exemption form must be completed with the necessary proof and returned to the Business hub to get permission to send money by post. Ask the visitors centre about the exemption form or contact the prison direct.

The prisoner is able to view this on his account on the Kiosk.

Prisoners can send out postal orders to approved persons only. They should ask their personal officer about this.

Prisoner’s weekly spending money

Money you send in will go into the prisoner’s suspense account. The following amounts will be transferred to their spend account each week.

Basic - £4.00

Standard - £15.50

Enhanced - £25.50

How can I keep in touch with 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.

  • Prison Technology Services are offering a new service where people can receive emails from family, friends, legals and probation services.  Email a prisoner: www.emailaprisoner.com Find out more HERE. Information and leaflets are available in the visitors’ centre.

  • Video calls are also available using the Purple Visits app. See further information under the question: Can I have a video call with the prisoner?

The prisoner is able to telephone his family/friends using in cell telephones, 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.

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 in the visitors’ centre or contact the prison's safer custody / family links phone line: 01670 382 150.

Do you run any special family visits?

Father/child and special family visits are normally available at HMP Northumberland. For more information ask in the visitors’ centre for details. However these visits are not currently available due to COVID-19.

Our visits teams have created activity packs for children visiting so that they can take these packs home with them and can also send craft family packs out during school holidays. If you would like a pack for your children please ring the visitors centre on 01670 383736.

For more information about visiting please get in touch with the visitors’ centre on 01670 383736.

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