Guidance

Gartree Prison

Gartree is a high security men’s prison in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

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Book and plan your visit to Gartree

Gartree prison 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 Gartree 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.

The number of visits a person can have a month depends on their privilege level.

Contact Gartree 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 Gartree
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

Gartree is running a limited visits schedule. Visits are also happening differently than normal, observing strict guidelines, which must be followed.

You can book your visit by telephone or you can also register to use the secure video calls service. There is no online booking service available.

Booking line: 01858 426 727
Monday to Friday, 9am to midday and 1pm to 2pm
Find out about call charges

Email: socialvisits.gartree@justice.gov.uk

Prisoners can also book their own visits by speaking to a wing officer and completing the application forms.

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday: 2pm to 3:30pm

When you are at the prison, you can book your next visit.

Legal visits will resume from 23 September.

Email: socialvisits.gartree@justice.gov.uk

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 01858 426 727
Monday to Friday, 9am to midday and 1pm to 2pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times are Wednesdays, 9am to 11am

Getting to Gartree

Find Gartree on a map

The closest railway station is Market Harborough which is about 4 miles from the prison. From the station, you can get a bus straight to the prison or you can get a taxi.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is limited parking at the prison including spaces for Blue Badge holders.

Entering Gartree

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 also be sniffed by security dogs.

Gartree has a strict dress code policy, which means visitors should wear smart clothes (no vests, no low-cut tops, no shorts, no short dresses and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons). You cannot wear ripped jeans or other ripped clothing, coats or jackets, watches, steel toe capped boots, buckelled belts, excessive jewellery and you can not bring keys.

No money can be taken into the prison. There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Gartree. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you, including keys, phones and cameras, in a locker (£1 refunded) or with security. This also 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

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) runs a family-friendly visitor centre where you can get information and support. There will be no refreshments available during your visit. The childrens play area will not be available to use.

You can speak to them directly on:

Telephone: 01858 461 134 or 01858 466 614

Family days

There are currently no family days being run.

Keep in touch with someone at Gartree

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

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

Prisoners have phones in their rooms and are able to make calls whenever they are in their rooms.

Phones do not accept incoming calls so 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.

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 Gartree using the Email a Prisoner service.

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

Letters

You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope. If you do not know the prisoner number, use his date of birth instead.

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

You cannot hand any items into the prison.

People in Gartree are given a list of items that they can buy from approved suppliers. They can also apply to have certain items from the ‘facilities list’ sent in by post. Only when the item has been approved can you send it in. Any other parcel will be returned.

All parcels will be opened and searched by staff, x-rayed and sniffed by a security dog.

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

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 Gartree for more information.

Life at Gartree

Gartree 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 Gartree 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 Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When someone first arrives at Gartree, they will get to speak to a trained member of staff who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs. They will also be seen by a clinical healthcare professional.

They will get an information pack and usually be issued with any property that arrived with them.

After the reception process, they will be moved to the induction unit where they can take a shower and make phone calls.

Induction

Each person who arrives at Gartree gets an induction that lasts about a week. They will be in a double room and 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

They will be shown the library and gym. Everyone also finds out about Gartree’s therapeutic community, prison rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.

Accommodation

Over 700 men live at Gartree. Most men have their own rooms.

Education and work

All programmes and services at Gartree are designed to help men adapt their behaviour and lower their risk of reoffending. There is support for those with learning disabilities, help with thinking skills, reducing violence and maintaining healthy relationships.

Gartree has a range of workshops that include woodworking, gardening, laundry and IT. Some qualifications are available in the workshops as well.

The prison also provides a recording service for local and regional Talking Newspapers. Men can develop skills in web design and desktop publishing and get involved in the prison newspaper.

Milton Keynes College provides a range of courses, starting with literacy and numeracy. Other courses include English literature, art, cookery, IT, barbering and construction skills. Further education opportunities are offered through distance learning and the Open University.

Organisations Gartree works with

Gartree works with Story Book Dads which helps men in prison to record personal bedtime stories for their children.

It works with Shakespeare Unbard, on a voluntary basis, to get prisoners involved in drama. The group performs at least one performance each year.

Leicestershire Libraries provide the library facility at Gartree. There is a programme of craft sessions, wellbeing days and speakers along with the books.

The Shannon Trust helps men at Gartree develop their reading skills, build confidence and progress to educational qualifications.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Gartree

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) provides individual support with a range of issues facing families with loved ones in prison. Ask in the visitors centre for more information.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Gartree

Governor: Babafemi Dada

Telephone: 01858 426 600
Fax: 01858 426 601
Find out about call charges

Address

HMP Gartree
Gallow Field Road
Market Harborough
Leicestershire
LE16 7RP

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Gartree, call the safer custody hotline. Leave your name, telephone number, the reason for your call and the name and prisoner number of the man you are worried about. You should be called back within 24 hours.

Telephone: 01858 426 886
Find out about call charges

In an emergency, call the main telephone number and ask for the duty governor.

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

Published 5 May 2020
Last updated 29 July 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 information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  9. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

  11. First published.