Detailed guide: Dartmoor Prison

Ministry Of Justice

November 19
13:27 2019

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Book and plan your visit to Dartmoor

To visit someone in Dartmoor you must:

  • be on that persons visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

Most residents in Dartmoor are allowed up to 3 visits per month. You can check this with Dartmoor.

Contact Dartmoor if you have any questions about visiting.

Help with the cost of your visit

If you get certain benefits or have an NHS health certificate, you might be able to get help with the costs of your visit, including:

  • travel to Dartmoor
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

You can also book by telephone up to the previous working day before your planned visit.

Visits line: 01822 322 022
Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Friday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Saturday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2pm to 4pm


Urgent calls only: 01822 322 022
Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Monday to Thursday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2pm to 4pm
  • Friday: 10am to 1pm

Getting to Dartmoor

Find Dartmoor on a map

The closest railway station is Plymouth. From there you can get a taxi or take the bus, changing at Tavistock.

To plan your journey by public transport use:

There is a free visitors car park.

There is also a disabled visitors car park. Disabled visitors who want to use this car park must contact the prison before your visit on 01822 322 022, Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm, or email

Entering Dartmoor

All visitors aged 16 and older need to bring one of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • benefit book
  • senior citizens public transport pass
  • annual public transport season ticket (with photo card)
  • employer ID card (if it shows the name of the visitor and the employer)
  • European Community identity card

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Dartmoor has a strict dress code policy, which means visitors should wear smart clothes (no vests, no low-cut tops, no shorts, no short dresses and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons).

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of 20 in coins (10 for children) in a clear bag (notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink in the visiting hall.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Dartmoor. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

You will be told the rules by an officer at the start of your visit. If you break the rules, your visit could be cancelled and you could be banned from visiting again.

Visiting facilities

There is a visitors centre, run by Choices. They can provide you with information and help, you can buy drinks and snacks and there is a play area for children.

There is also a childrens play area in the visiting hall and snack bar offering hot and cold food and drinks.

Family days

All-day family visits are held monthly on certain afternoons, 2pm to 4pm. The resident must apply for these.

Choices provides a range of activities for the whole family.

Keep in touch with someone at Dartmoor

There are several ways you can keep in touch with a resident during their time at Dartmoor.

Phone calls

Residents do not have phones in their rooms so they will always have to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this.

They can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security when they first arrive so it may take a few days before they are able to call.

You can also exchange voicemails using the Prison Voicemail service.

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.


You can send emails to someone in Dartmoor using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from the resident, depending on the rules at Dartmoor.


You can write at any time.

Include the persons name and prison number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prison number, contact Dartmoor.

All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers.

Send money and gifts

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.

You can also send a cheque. Make the cheque payable to HMPPS and either write the residents details on the back of the cheque or in an attached letter.

Gifts and parcels

You cannot send gifts and parcels to Dartmoor. Instead you can send money and the resident can purchase approved items.

Life at Dartmoor

Dartmoor is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Dartmoor has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Devon Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Dartmoor, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

They will get to speak to someone who will check how theyre feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing or family needs.


Each person who arrives at Dartmoor gets an induction that lasts about 2 weeks. They will meet professionals who will help them with:

  • health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
  • any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
  • personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
  • other support (sometimes called interventions), such as managing difficult emotions

Everyone finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work. Everyone also has a gym induction.


Dartmoor accommodates 640 men in single rooms across 6 wings:

  • Arch Tor
  • Burra Tor
  • Down Tor
  • Fox Tor
  • Granite Tor
  • East Tor

It is a smoke-free site.Residents are integrated and live and work together in a supportive community.

Education and work

Dartmoor has a wide range of employment opportunities for residents. There is an emphasis on full-time employment, which is available in:

  • catering
  • gardens
  • laundry
  • textiles
  • braille
  • contract services
  • furniture manufacture

The men can also study for NVQ or City & Guilds vocational qualifications while they work.

Education is available full or

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