Ministry Of Justice
Help us to improve this page. Give us your feedback in this 2-minute survey.
Book and plan your visit to Rochester
Visits at Rochester are temporarily suspended following instructions for people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We will update here as soon as this changes. You can also follow @HMPPS on Twitter and read a rolling update page.
For advice and support, the Prisoners Families Helpline is available on 0808 808 2003.
Keep in touch with someone at Rochester
There are several ways you can keep in touch with a resident during their time at Rochester.
Residents have phones in their rooms, as well as access to phones in communal areas. They can only make outgoing calls 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 Rochester and get replies from them using the Email a Prisoner service. You can also attach photos and they will be printed off and handed out.
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.
You can write at any time.
Include the persons name and prisoner number on the envelope.
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
Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to The Governor and include the residents name and prisoner number on the back.
Gifts and parcels
You can send clothes and books in the post into Rochester. Residents with standard or enhanced privileges can receive a clothing parcel once every 6 months. Make sure to include the persons name and prisoner number on the parcel. All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.
Other items must be ordered by the residents using an approved catalogues or from the canteen.
Life at Rochester
Rochester 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 Rochester has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.
All safeguarding processes are overseen by Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board.
Arrival and first night
When a resident first arrives at Rochester, 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.
Each person who arrives at Rochester gets an induction that lasts about a week. 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.
Rochester holds around 695 men in single and double rooms, some of which have showers.
Education and work
As a resettlement prison, Rochester offers a wide range of vocational training, work opportunities and offending behaviour programmes.
Vocational training includes painting and decorating, brick laying, carpentry, stone masonry, plastering, tiling, welding, construction skills, catering and gym courses.
There are educational opportunities, including English and maths, IT, mentoring and distance learning.
Release on temporary licence (ROTL) allows men that meet its criteria to visit and stay over with family or partners. Once men are in their last 6 months, they can apply. It happens once a month, starting with 2 nights and going up to 4.
Men can be released on special purpose licence in exceptional circumstances, if the criteria are met.
Resettlement day release is also considered for anyone who wants access to training and education.
There is rigorous risk assessment prior to any period of release being granted.
Organisations Rochester works with
Rochester also works with:
- the Forward Trust which helps men to stop reoffending
- Weston College to provide education
- NHS England for healthcare
- Inreach which offers help to people with special needs
- KSS CRC for rehabilitation in the community
- Nacro for support with housing
- Sussex Pathways for restorative justice and resettlement
- Construct a Future which helps men to re-build their lives
Support for family and friends
Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.
Support at Rochester
Spurgeons offer family support for loved ones of people at Rochester.
Problems and complaints
If you have a problem, please write to the correspondence/complaints department at the main address.
If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.
HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Rochester in response to independent inspections.
Governor: Dean Gardiner
Telephone: 01634 803 100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, with an external switchboard at other times
Fax: 01634 803 101
Find out about call charges
Replies are usually posted out in 2-3 weeks.
1 Fort Road
Safer custody hotline
If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Rochester, call the safer custody hotline.
Telephone: 01634 803 268
Find out about call charges
Leave your name, telephone numbe