Guidance

Downview Prison and Young Offender Institution

Downview is a prison and young offender institution (YOI) in Sutton, Surrey, for women aged 18 and over.

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Book and plan your visit to Downview

Downview 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 Downview

You may not be able to speak with someone at Downview during their first few days. This is because it can take time to approve who they can be in touch with.

Women do not have phones in their rooms so they will always need to call you rather than you call them.

Phone calls

Residents can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security.

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.

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

Email

You can send emails to someone in Downview 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 Downview.

Letters

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

If you do not know their prisoner number, contact Downview.

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’ and include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back.

Gifts and parcels

Residents are given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts. These can be ordered online from Amazon or Argos and sent directly to Downview or they can be sent from home.

There are limits on the number of parcels a resident can receive, which may vary by resident. Contact Downview for details.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the parcel.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Life at Downview

Downview is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where women can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Downview 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 Downview, 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 Downview 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 property allowances, the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.

They will be introduced to some of the other residents who will give support and guidance where needed. Help is also available for anyone who has difficulty speaking or understanding English.

Accommodation

Around 300 women live at Downview. There are several residential wings serving different purposes. Each woman gets her own room.

Facilities include a developed gym and astroturf football pitch.

Education and work

Women at Downview can study or take workshops and training in a range of subjects including:

  • English
  • maths
  • IT
  • hairdressing
  • beauty
  • catering

Courses are provided by Weston College.

Downview has partnerships with the London College of Fashion, Max Speilmann Academy (photo printing) and the Clink charity (catering) to give residents work experience and opportunities for employment on release.

Temporary release

Downview residents have the opportunity to gain work experience in the local community. This is known as release on temporary licence.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Downview

Governor: Natasha Wilson

Telephone (24 hours): 0208 196 6300
Safer Custody Hotline: 0208 196 6370
Fax: 020 8196 6301

Find out about call charges

Follow Downview on Twitter

Address

HMP/YOI Downview
Sutton Lane
Sutton
Surrey
SM2 5PD

See map

Safety concerns

Email safercustody.downview@justice.org.uk if you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a woman in Downview.

You can also contact Downview if you would prefer to speak to someone.

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

Published 2 October 2019
Last updated 30 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 visit 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 times and visiting procedure changes during coronavirus.

  7. Added confirmation of secure video calling availability at this prison.

  8. updated survey link

  9. Prison visits update.

  10. Safer Custody Hotline added

  11. First published.