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.

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

Book and plan your visit to Elmley

To visit someone in Elmley you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

Prisoners on remand can have a visit every day, if there’s space. Once sentenced, visitors need a visiting order (VO) and will get 2 every 14 days. Prisoners with enhanced privileges will get 2 extra visits a month.

Contact Elmley 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 Elmley
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

You can book your visit by telephone.

Booking line: 03000606605
Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1600

For visits enquiries ring 01795 802195

By Email

Visiting times:

  • Monday to Sunday: 2pm to 3:30pm

Legal visits can only be booked by email to,

Legal and professional visiting times:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 11:30am

You can book legal video visits by telephone.

Booking line: 01795 802 373

Legal video session times (hourly slots):

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm

Getting to Elmley

Find Elmley on a map

The closest railway station is Sheerness. From there you can get a taxi or take the bus,

To plan your journey by public transport use:

There is a free visitors car park.

Entering Elmley

All visitors, aged 16 or older must prove their identity before entering Elmley 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 must adhere to the prison dress code that applies, further details can be requested on your first visit
  • There are strict controls on what you can take into Elmley. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker in the visitors’ centre or in your car
  • Call the booking line or 01795 802195 if you have any questions about visiting

Visiting facilities

The visitors centre is open from 11am to 4:30pm on weekdays and from 7:30am to 4:30pm on weekends.

There is an unsupervised children’s play area, a snack bar and disabled access to the prison.

Family days

Elmley run 12 family visits a year. Details on how these visits run can be found in the visitor centre or by asking in staff in the visits hall.

Keep in touch with someone at Elmley

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

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

Secure video calls at this prison can be requested by prisoners only.

You will receive a notification if a prisoner has requested a video call with you.

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

Prisoners 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, 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 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

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.

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.

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.

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 someone 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 1,150 prisoners.

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

Education and work

At Elmley, all prisoners 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 prisoners to learn how to play, create, mix and manage music.

First-aid, diet, nutrition and personal training courses are offered in the gym. Prisoners 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 prisoners 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 prisoners 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 prisoners 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

Family services at Elmley are provided by PACT.

To contact our head of family provision the Head of Reducing Reoffending at Elmley:

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 prisoner due for release, if he and his partner have children of school age.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Elmley.

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

Contact Elmley

Governor: Andy Davy

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



HMP/YOI Elmley
Church Road
ME12 4DZ

See map

In an emergency

Call 01795 802000 if you have an immediate or emergency concern about the welfare of a prisoner and ask for the orderly officer or duty governor.

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a prisoner at Elmley prison that are not an immediate concern, call the safer custody hotline.

Telephone: 01795 880921
24 hour answering machine
Find out about call charges

Leave a message giving as many details as possible including the prisoners name, prisoner number and what wing they are located on if you know it. If you wish, you can leave your own details and a contact number so the prison can give you feedback, if appropriate.

You can also read more information about safer custody concerns on the Prisoners Families website.

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

Published 7 April 2020
Last updated 10 March 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated legal/professional and legal video visits information.

  2. Secure video calls update - new phone provider.

  3. Updated Governor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  11. New visiting times and booking information added.

  12. 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.

  13. Updated visit info

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

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

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

  17. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

  19. Updated safer custody hotline details

  20. added survey link

  21. First published.