Elmley Prison

Elmley is one of 3 prisons for men that form the Sheppey Cluster in Kent, the other two being HMP Standford Hill and HMP Swaleside.

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Book and plan your visit to Elmley

Prison social visits are temporarily suspended at Elmley following national lockdown. We will update here as soon as this changes. There may be the opportunity for visits under exceptional compassionate reasons which should be agreed in advance with the prison prior to travel.

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 Elmley

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

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

Phone calls

Residents have phones in their rooms but can only make outgoing calls so they will always have to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this. They can be used between 6am and 10:30pm.

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.


You can send emails to someone in Elmley 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 Elmley.


You can write at any time.

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

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

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

Gifts and parcels

Books are the only items that can be sent into prison. Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the parcel. All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Contact Elmley for more information on what’s allowed.

Life at Elmley

Elmley 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 Elmley 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 Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Elmley, 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 person who arrives at Elmley gets an induction that lasts about a week.

They will be issued with bedding, toiletries and an early days’ welfare pack.

They will also 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.


There are 6 units that hold about 1150 residents.

There are units for vulnerable prisoners, foreign nationals, first night residents, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and mixed units.

Education and work

At Elmley, all residents must work towards Level 2 English and maths. There are classroom assistants to help with learning.

Alongside this, foreign nationals must try to improve their English. There is ICT, City and Guilds construction certificates, Equality and Diversity qualifications and other industry-based learning.

‘In House Records’ is the first HM Prison record label to encourage residents to learn how to play, create, mix and manage music.

First Aid, diet, nutrition and personal training courses are offered in the gym. Residents can also train to be a ‘mentor’ so they can take on key peer worker roles. One of the units runs a community art project.

A careers advisor helps with application letters and CVs. Every 3 months, a selection of employers come to the prison to offer job vacancies, apprenticeships and training opportunities to residents that are almost ready for release.

Once accredited, the courses in forklift truck driving, streetworks and traffic management guarantee an interview through the Mainstream group.

Daily employment is available in gardening, environmental services, recycling, cleaning, laundry and kitchen work.

Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) workers offer a wide range of courses to encourage residents to make a fresh start, such as victim awareness and empathy, violence reduction, managing worry, understanding triggers for re-offending, mindfulness, communication and financial skills and parenting.

Temporary release

Elmley does not offer release on temporary licence (ROTL) at the moment.

Organisations Elmley works with

Elmley works with The Forward Trust which offers many courses on health, well-being and motivation, as well as drug and alcohol treatment programmes.

There are relationship and ‘thinking’ programmes on offer to residents too, as well as help with resettlement issues like accommodation, banking, citizen ID cards, birth certificates and employment from Seetec.

Elmley also works with the charity Spurgeons which helps with family visiting days.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Elmley

Visitor centre staff offer friendly advice and support to all families and can refer them on to other agencies, such as domestic abuse or debt management services.

They also help with applications for family proceedings and have access to Relate, who offer free parental counselling for a resident due for release, if he and his partner have children of school age.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Elmley

Governor: Paul Woods

Telephone (24 hours): 01795 802 000
Fax: 01795 802 001
Find out about call charges



HMP/YOI Elmley
Church Road
ME12 4DZ

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concern about the safety or wellbeing of a prisoner in Elmley please leave a message stating the name and prison number of the person you are concerned about.

This messaging service is checked several times a day. You may not receive a call back due to GDPR data protection restrictions.

Telephone 01795 802433

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Published 7 April 2020
Last updated 21 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated visit info

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

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

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

  5. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  6. Added confirmation of secure video calls being made available at this prison.

  7. Updated safer custody hotline details

  8. added survey link

  9. First published.