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.

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

Book and plan your visit to Downview

Downview is is now offering visits for family, friends and significant others, in line with stage 2 of the National Framework for Prisons.

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.

We are now allowing physical contact at social visits following a negative rapid test. Find out more here.

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

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003. You will not be able to book a visit using this number.

To visit someone in Downview you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have the 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. You can check this with Downview.

Contact Downview 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 Downview
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

HMP Downview is currently operating a limited visits schedule for family and friends. You can book your visit by telephone. There is no online booking service available.

Booking line: 0300 303 0633
The booking line is open: Monday to Friday, 9:15am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Thursday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Saturday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 9am to 11am

Legal and professional visits can be booked by email at HMPPSvisitbooking@justice.gov.uk.

The request for a visit must be made at least 3 days in advance.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 303 0633
Monday to Friday, 9:15am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 9am to 11am
  • Thursday: 9am to 11am

Getting to Downview

Find Downview on a map

The closest railway stations are Belmont and Sutton.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is a visitors car park, including spaces for Blue Badge holders.

Entering Downview

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 will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may be sniffed by a security dog. You will also have to go through a metal scanner unless you have a doctor’s note.

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into the prison. 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 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

There is a visitors centre run by the Prison Advice and Care Trust charity. Family and friends can relax, buy refreshments and get advice and support from the staff.

It is open from 12:15pm to 4:30pm on visiting days.

Family days

Downview holds regular family days which give prisoners more time to spend with family and loved ones in a relaxed setting. Contact Downview for details.

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

Prisoners 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.

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, 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 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

Prisoners 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 prisoner can receive, which may vary by prisoner. 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.

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 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 someone 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 prisoners 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 prisoners work experience and opportunities for employment on release.

Temporary release

Prisoners 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 24 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added link to information about testing for physical contact at visits.

  2. New visiting times and booking information added.

  3. 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.

  4. Updated visit info

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

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

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

  8. Updated: visiting times and visiting procedure changes during coronavirus.

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

  10. updated survey link

  11. Prison visits update.

  12. Safer Custody Hotline added

  13. First published.