Guidance

Chelmsford Prison

Chelmsford is a prison and young offender institution (YOI) in Chelmsford, Essex for men aged 18 and over.

Prison visits 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.

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.

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Book and plan your visit to Chelmsford

To visit someone in Chelmsford you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit 3 weeks in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

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.

Contact Chelmsford 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 Chelmsford
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking lines: 01245 552 265 and 01245 552 240
Monday to Friday, 8:15am to 11am and 12:30pm to 3:30pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Tuesday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Wednesday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Thursday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Saturday: 9:30am to 11am (no entry after 10am), 2:30pm to 3:45pm
  • Sunday: 2.30pm to 3:45pm

Visitors must arrive before 10am for morning visits and 3pm for afternoon visits.

Email: legalvisits.chelmsford@justice.gov.uk

You need to book at least 3 days in advance. Bookings and alterations must be made by midday on the day prior to the visit.

Visiting times:

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

You can use Video Link for court actions at any time. When you call, ask for Video Link bookings.

When it’s not being used by the courts, the Video Link booths can be booked for police, probation, solicitor and inter-prison visits.

Booking line: 01245 552 000
Monday to Friday: 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm

Getting to Chelmsford

Find Chelmsford on a map

Chelmsford Prison is about a mile from Chelmsford Station where you can take a taxi or a local bus.

To plan your journey by public transport:

If you drive to Chelmsford Prison, there is no visitor parking. The nearest public car park is 5 minutes walk from the prison on Victoria Road.

Entering Chelmsford

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

  • passport
  • driving licence photo ID card
  • citizenship photo card
  • European Community identity card
  • immigration/HM Customs photo card

Alternatively, 2 of the following:

  • birth or marriage certificate
  • recent utility bill (within last 3 months)
  • recent bank statement (within last 3 months)
  • paper driving licence
  • young person’s proof of age card
  • foreign identity or residents card, medical card (not E111 photo card)

The prison does not accept student ID cards or letters from the benefits office, solicitors or police as forms of ID.

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

Chelmsford has a family friendly dress code policy which means visitors should be appropriately and decently dressed. That means no vests, no sportswear, hoodies or camouflage clothing, no low-cut tops, no shorts and no short dresses or skirts. You may also be refused entry if you wear ripped or torn clothes, steel toe capped shoes, headwear other than that worn for religious reasons and jewellery, except a wedding/engagement ring and small ear studs.

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £20 each and £30 if you have children. Coins can be used to buy food and drink from the snack bar in the visiting hall. The visitor centre can change your notes for coins, if necessary.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Chelmsford. 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 need £1 for the locker.

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

The visitors centre is run by Ormiston Families and offers support, advice and help to families and friends who come to visit.

There is a children’s play area and snack bar in both the visitors centre and visiting hall.

The visitors centre is open:

  • Monday to Thursday: midday to 4:15pm
  • Saturday: 8am to 11.15am, midday to 4:15pm
  • Sunday: midday to 4:15pm

You cannot enter the prison after 3pm so you need to be in the visitors centre no later than 2.45pm.

Telephone: 01245 552 453

Family days

Ormiston Families runs 10 children’s visits and 2 family days each year. Family days give men more time in a relaxing environment to spend with their family and children.

Men can apply for these visits on the wing.

Keep in touch with someone at Chelmsford

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

Phone calls

Most residents have phones in their rooms but they will always have to call you. They 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.

Men in the segregation unit do not have phones in their rooms but are allowed one call a day.

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 Chelmsford using the Email a Prisoner service. You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from the resident.

Letters

You can send letters at any time. Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope. If you do not know their prisoner number, contact Chelmsford.

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 (not recommended unless sent by special delivery)

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to ‘The Governor’ or ‘HMPPS’ and include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back.

You must put your name and address on the back of the envelope.

Gifts and parcels

Only in exceptional circumstances can men in Chelmsford receive parcels. Men can apply for this.

Every new resident is given a self-adhesive label and a property information form that they can send out to family or friends for a parcel of items to be sent back. All parcels must have the sender’s name and address on the label.

All parcels are checked by officers.

Life at Chelmsford

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

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Essex Safeguarding Adults Board.

Men who need to talk in confidence or who are in distress can make use of the Samaritans’ listener scheme, as well as the ‘insider scheme’ designed to help new residents in their first few days.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Chelmsford, 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 they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.

Induction

Each person who arrives at Chelmsford completes an induction period. 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 750 men live at Chelmsford in a mixture of single and double rooms.

Residents have access to a gym and a library.

Education and work

Residents can take courses in basic skills and education, including maths and English, IT, business, graphic design and personal and social development, all which offer recognised qualifications.

Residents have access to a range of vocational training, including painting and decorating, multi skills and industrial cleaning. Chelmsford also offers the health and safety course, the Construction Skills and Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, roofing courses and a music production course.

Work opportunities are available in laundry, recycling, tea packing, card folding, wire stripping, yards, gardens and catering.

Chelmsford Prison has an active resettlement centre which helps residents with housing, benefits and employment issues supported by staff from Job Centre Plus and the Ormiston Children and Families Trust.

Temporary release

Chelmsford does not offer release on temporary licence (ROTL).

To access it, residents with more than 16 months left to serve are transferred to an appropriate training prison.

Organisations Chelmsford works with

Chelmsford gets support and help from Ormiston Families.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Chelmsford

Ormiston Families tries to reduce anxiety for young people and children visiting prison and supports their emotional well-being and school attendance by providing a safe space for them to talk, play and express themselves.

For one-to-one support, email: hmpchelmsford@ormistonfamilies.org.uk

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Chelmsford. 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 Chelmsford in response to independent inspections.

Contact Chelmsford

Governor: Penny Bartlett

Telephone (24 hours): 01245 552 000
Fax: 01245 552 001
Find out about call charges

Address

HMP/YOI Chelmsford
200 Springfield Road
Chelmsford
Essex
CM2 6LQ

See map

Safer custody hotline

Residents or their families and friends can use the Safer Custody Helpline to report any concerns about bullying, violence, debt, self-harm or suicide. It is an answer machine, checked and followed up every day. Leave your name, the resident’s name, a return contact number and brief details about your concern.

Family and friends telephone: 01245 552 297
Find out about call charges

Residents telephone: Use the PIN 87872946, then dial 01245 552 297

Help us to improve this page. Give us your feedback in this 2-minute survey.

Published 24 March 2020
Last updated 5 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated information to include confirmation of secure video calls being available at this prison.

  2. Added survey link

  3. Prison visits update.

  4. First published.