Guidance

Durham Prison

Durham Prison is a men’s prison in the city of Durham.

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Book and plan your visit to Durham

To visit someone in Durham Prison you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit between 2 weeks and 24 hours 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. You can check this with the prison.

Contact Durham Prison 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 Durham prison
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online or by telephone.

Telephone booking line: 0300 303 2300

Find out about call charges

The booking lines are open:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Tuesday and Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Visiting times

  • Monday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday: 9:30am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday: 9:30am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4pm
  • Thursday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Friday: 2pm to 4pm, Family Learning session, 5pm to 6:30pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9:30am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4pm

Ex Fam Days:

  • 24, 31 August
  • 2 November
  • 21 December

Father and Child:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 September
  • 5, 12, 19, 26 October
  • 9, 16, 23, 30 November
  • 7, 14 December

Family Learning:

  • 25 August
  • 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 September
  • 6, 13, 20, 27 October
  • 3, 10, 17, 24 November
  • 1, 8, 15, 22 December

Email: LegalVisits.Durham@justice.gov.uk

Telephone: 0191 332 3816
Legal visits booking line hours: 8:30am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

  • Monday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday to Thursday: 9am to 11:45am and 2pm to 4pm
  • Friday: 2pm to 4pm

You must inform booking staff if you need to bring equipment with you (such as a laptop). Your booking confirmation will explain restrictions during your visit.

There is a court video link available for a prisoner’s legal representatives if there is capacity. Ask booking line staff for more information.

Email: vccdurham@justice.gov.uk
Telephone booking: 0191 332 3818

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 11:45pm and 2pm to 4pm

Getting to Durham Prison

Find Durham on a map

The closest railway station is Durham, around a 20-minute walk away, or you can take a taxi.

Durham bus station is around a 15-minute walk from the prison.

To plan your journey by public transport use:

There is no visitor’s car park.

There is no disabled visitor’s car park, however, two disabled bays are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Entering Durham Prison

All visitors 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 also be sniffed by security dogs. Visitors over the age of 10 will have their photo taken.

Durham has a strict dress code policy, which means visitors should wear smart clothes (no vests, no low-cut or revealing tops, no short shorts, no short dresses, no see-through clothing, no football shirts, no offensive slogans and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons). Visitors are also not allowed to wear smart watches, sunglasses, steel toe cap footwear or metal hair accessories.

You can purchase refreshments in the visitor centre and in the visits hall. You are permitted to bring in up to £20 in coins for purchases.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Durham. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker (you will need a £1 coin) 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 and family support centre run by Nepacs. Staff and volunteers in the visitors centre can provide you with information and support.

Refreshments can be purchased in the visitor centre and in the visits hall. You are permitted to bring in up to £20 in coins for purchases.

Family days

HMP Durham has various family visits throughout the year. Details on how these visits run can be found on NEPACS website.

Keep in touch with someone at Durham

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

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

Prisoners have phones in their cells but they will always have 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.

Email

You can send emails to someone in Durham using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from the prisoner, depending on the rules at Durham.

Letters

You can write at any time.

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

All post, apart from legal letters, will be opened and checked by officers.

Send money

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.

Life at Durham

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

Security and safeguarding

Every prisoner at Durham 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.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Durham, 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 be able to have a shower and speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.

Induction

Each prisoner who arrives at Durham 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 the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.

Accommodation

Almost 1,000 prisoners live at Durham, mostly on remand (they have not yet been sentenced).

There are 7 wings plus a segregation unit and healthcare centre.

Education and work

Prisoners in Durham Prison have the opportunity to take part in education, vocational training and employability courses.

Education is provided by Novus and includes:

  • skills for life
  • IT
  • customer service
  • art
  • horticulture
  • English for speakers of other languages

Vocational training is available that reflects the local employment market. It covers:

  • construction
  • IT
  • warehousing
  • recycling
  • food and hospitality

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

To contact our head of family provision at HMP Durham email: safercustodydurham@justice.gov.uk

You can also get support from NEPACs, who run the visitors centre at Durham is run by NEPACs, who can offer help and support regarding

  • Visits
  • Property
  • Healthcare
  • Finances
  • PIN phone

Opening hours

  • 0191 332 3676 Monday to Sunday 9am to 4pm
  • 0191 332 3462 Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm

Contact NEPACs on:

Freephone 0800 012 1539
Email support@nepacs.co.uk
Text 07983 437 457

Find out about call charges

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

If you think the prisoner is at immediate risk please call the switchboard on 0191 332 3400 and ask for the Orderly Officer and explain that your concern is an emergency.

Safety hotline

If your concern is urgent but not life-threatening, please call the Safer Custody Helpline on 0191 332 3695 or contact the prison Safer Custody team using the web form (the team will pick up all contact forms within 72 hours).

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Durham.

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

Contact Durham

Governor: Phil Husband

Telephone (24 hours): 01913 323 400
Fax: 01913 323 401
Find out about call charges

Address

HMP Durham
Old Elvet
Durham
DH1 3HU

See map

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Published 5 May 2020
Last updated 27 March 2023 + show all updates
  1. Secure video call update.

  2. Updated legal/official visiting time slots and added time slots for legal video calls.

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

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

  5. Updated visiting information: Visits temporarily suspended

  6. Updated rules for sending in money and gifts.

  7. Updated physical contact guidance

  8. New visiting times and booking information added.

  9. 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.

  10. Updated visit info

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

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

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

  14. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  15. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

  17. First published.