Bristol Prison

Bristol Prison is a men’s prison in the Horfield area of Bristol.

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Book and plan your visit to Bristol Prison

Bristol prison is at stage 3 in the National Framework for Prisons. We are now preparing to open for visits and we will update this page with specific visiting information as soon as possible.

Find out more about visiting someone in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also follow @HMPPS on Twitter and read a rolling update page.

There are a number of other ways to contact someone in prison if you are unable to visit them. You can:

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003.

Keep in touch with someone at Bristol Prison

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

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

Phone calls

All residents have phones in their rooms which they can use at any time. The phones do not accept incoming calls so they will always need 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 Bristol Prison 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 Bristol Prison.


You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prisoner number, contact Bristol Prison.

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 ‘The Governor’ and include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back as well as your name and address.

Gifts and parcels

Friends and family can hand in the following items before a visit:

  • underwear, socks and court clothes (shirts, trousers, shoes, ties and jackets)
  • books (not puzzle books or magazines)

It’s also possible to send these items and other kinds of clothing and footwear by post. For this, you will need a property voucher which the resident must apply for and send you by post. Fix the voucher to your parcel before sending it in.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the order. They will be opened and checked by officers. For court clothes, allow at least 5 days for the parcel to be searched and reach the resident.

Any parcels without a property voucher or that look to be tampered with will be refused.

Residents can buy a variety of items for themselves from the canteen and through a catalogue system.

Contact Bristol Prison for more information on gifts and parcels.

Life at Bristol Prison

Bristol Prison is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

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

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board.

Residents can also be trained by the Samaritans to be ‘listeners’ to help support people going through difficult times.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Bristol Prison, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. (In some circumstances a call may be made on his behalf.) 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 they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.

If the resident has cash when they arrive, they will have the chance to buy canteen supplies and add money to their phone account.


Each person who arrives at Bristol Prison 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

They will also get a gym induction so they can safely use the gym facilities.

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


About 500 men live at Bristol Prison across 5 main wings. One wing has single rooms while the rest are shared.

Education and work

Residents have access to a range of work, training and education opportunities. Courses include:

  • maths
  • English
  • IT
  • health and safety
  • food safety
  • catering
  • cleaning
  • NVQs levels 1 and 2 in warehouse and storage and performing manufacturing operations
  • bike mechanics
  • peer mentoring
  • healthier lifestyles

Employability skills workshops are run monthly to give help with CVs, job applications and interview skills.

Residents can also get help and support on issues such as health and wellbeing, substance misuse, housing, debt and family relationships in preparation for release.

Organisations Bristol works with

Bristol works with Catch 22, a not-for-profit business, to help residents prepare for their release. They provide support with things like housing, employment, finance and relationships.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Bristol Prison. If you can’t resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Bristol Prison in response to independent inspections.

Contact Bristol Prison

Governor: James Lucas

Telephone: 0117 372 3100
Fax: 0117 372 3113
Find out about call charges


HMP Bristol
19 Cambridge Road

See map

Safety hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Bristol, call the safety line. Leave as much information as possible and a telephone number for staff to call you back.

Telephone: 0117 372 3382
Find out about call charges

In an emergency, call the main telephone number and ask to speak to the duty governor.

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Published 15 January 2020
Last updated 6 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Prison moved into National Stage 3 framework and is now preparing to open visits for family, friends and significant others. We will update this page with specific visiting information as soon as possible.

  2. Updated prison info

  3. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

  4. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

  5. Updated visiting information in line with new national restrictions in England.

  6. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  7. Updated information about secure video calls.

  8. Visit information update

  9. First published.