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Detailed guide: High Down Prison

Ministry Of Justice

October 30
12:37 2020

Book and plan your visit to High Down

High Down is now offering limited visits for family and friends in line with coronavirus restrictions.

To ensure the safety of visitors, residents and staff, there are strict guidelines which must be followed during you visit.

To visit someone in High Down you must:

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

Visits for men who are on remand can be booked up to 8 days in advance. Visits for men who have been convicted can be booked up to 28 days in advance.

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

There may be a limit to the number of visits a person can have. You can check this with High Down.

Contact High Down 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 High Down
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

High Down is running a limited visits schedule. Visits are also happening differently than normal, observing strict guidelines, which must be followed.

You can book your visit by contacting High Down or you can also register to use the secure video calls service. There is no online booking service available.

There are currently no legal visits taking place.

Entering High Down

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.

High Down has a family-friendly dress code policy which means visitors should dress appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing things like see-through or revealing clothing, low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses, or anything with offensive patterns or slogans.

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a small amount of money in coins (notes are not allowed).

There are strict controls on what you can take into High Down. 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 the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) charity.

It is open from 8:30am to 4:45pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 12:30pm to 4:45pm on weekends.

Email: highdown@prisonadvice.org.uk
Telephone: 020 7147 6360
Find out about call charges

There will be no refreshments available during your visit. The childrens play area is currently not available to use.

Keep in touch with someone at High Down

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

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.

Email

You can send emails to someone in High Down 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 High Down.

Secure video calls

Secure video calling is available at this prison. Family and friends need to download the purple visits app, create an account, register all visitors, and add the prisoner to their contact list.

Read more about how it works

Letters

You can write at any time.

Include the persons name and prisoner number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prisoner number, contact High Down.

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:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to HM Prison Service. Write the residents name and prisoner number on the back, as well as your name, address and relationship to the resident.

Cheques may take 3 weeks to clear.

Gifts and parcels

Friends and family can hand in clothing for residents within the first 28 days of their arrival at High Down.

The items should be handed in to the visitors centre between 10:30am and 11:45am on visiting days. You must have a visit booked when you bring clothing in.

Make sure to include the persons name and prisoner number on the parcel.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Contact High Down for more information.

Life at High Down

High Down 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 High Down has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at High Down, 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 needs.

Induction

Each person who arrives at High Down gets an induction that lasts 3 days. 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 also finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.

Accommodation

Around 1100 men live at High Down in 6 hallblocks. There is a mixture of single and shared rooms.

Residents on standard or enhanced behaviour levels can rent TVs in their rooms. Enhanced level residents can also borrow DVDs from the library.

Sports and fitness facilities include 2 gyms with multi-purpose courts, weights and exercise equipment, outdoor fields for team sports, and a broad programme of team activities and classes.

High Down has a diverse, multi-faith chaplaincy team providing services and support to residents.

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