Chelmsford Prison

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

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Book and plan your visit to Chelmsford prison

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 prisoner 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 or 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 (from 20th March 2023), Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday: Between 2:15pm and 3:45pm.
  • Visits on Bank Holidays are subject to change. Updates will be published within the prison to prisoners and via the Ormiston Families Website and within the Visits Centre.

You can book an in-person legal/professional by email to You must ensure that all prisoner and visitor details are correct.

To help speed up your request, in your email please provide a selection of dates for your proposed visit.

On the day of the visit, ensure that you arrive with the correct ID. See accepted forms of ID here.

Face to face Legal Visits times:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 10am and 2:45pm to 3:45pm
    (2 hour slot from 9am considered on request depending on availability)
  • Tuesday and Thursdays: 2:45pm to 3:45pm

Video call visiting times (via the cloud video platform):

You can request a two hour time slot, which will be granted depending on availability.

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 10am and 10:30am to 11:30am
  • Monday to Thursday (PM): 2pm to 3pm and 3:30pm to 4:30pm

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 or older must prove their identity before entering the prison. Read the list of acceptable forms of ID when visiting a prison.

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.

Ormiston families run the tea bar within the visits hall. There is a minimal selection of items available at this time.

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.

The children’s play area and snack bar will be available to use during your visit.

The visitors centre is open:

  • Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 12:30pm to 4:15pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 12:30pm to 4:15pm

You need to arrive at the Visitor Centre between 12:30pm and 2:10pm for an afternoon visit.  Cut off is 2:15pm and you will not be able to enter the prison after this time.

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 someone during their time at Chelmsford.

Secure video calls

To have a secure video call with someone in this prison you need to:

  • Download the Prison Video app
  • Create an account
  • Register all visitors
  • Add the prisoner to your contact list.

How to book a secure video call

You can request a secure video call with someone in this prison via the Prison Video app.

You will receive a notification when your request has been accepted.

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

Most prisoners have phones in their cells 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 cells 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.


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, depending on the rules at the prison.


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 no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post.

If you cannot use the online service, you may be able to apply for an exemption - for example if you:

  • are unable to use a computer, a smart phone or the internet
  • do not have a debit card

This will allow you to send money by post.

Gifts and parcels

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

Every new prisoner 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 and must be couriered by Parcel Force. All instructions on the property information form regarding size, weight, packaging etc must be followed otherwise the parcel will be refused. The parcel can only contain clothing.

All parcels are checked by officers.

Friends and families of prisoners are permitted to send books directly to their loved ones, or can order books from approved retailers, which can source and send the books on to prisoners.

For the full list of approved retailers, you can read the HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F.

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

For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website.

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 prisoners in their first few days.

Arrival and first night

When someone 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.


Each prisoner 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.


Around 750 prisoners are at Chelmsford in a mixture of single and double cells.

Prisoners have access to a gym and a library.

Education and work

Prisoners 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.

Prisoners 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 prisoners 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, prisoners 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:

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Chelmsford.

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

Contact Chelmsford

Governor: Garry Newnes

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


HMP/YOI Chelmsford
200 Springfield Road

See map

Safer custody hotline

Prisoners 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 prisoners name, a return contact number and brief details about your concern.

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

Prisoners 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 27 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Update to secure video calls.

  2. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

  3. Added link to new safer custody information under Security and safeguarding.

  4. Updated visiting information: Reduced visit schedule and testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

  5. Updated visiting information: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

  6. Added link to information about testing for physical contact at visits.

  7. 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.

  8. Updated visit info

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

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

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

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

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  14. Updated information to include confirmation of secure video calls being available at this prison.

  15. Added survey link

  16. Prison visits update.

  17. First published.