Guys Marsh Prison

Guys Marsh is a men’s prison near Shaftesbury in Dorset.

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Book and plan your visit to Guys Marsh

Prison social visits are temporarily suspended at Guys Marsh 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. This position will be extended over the Christmas period. We will update here as soon as this changes.

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 Guys Marsh

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

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 for outgoing calls only 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.

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 Guys Marsh 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 Guys Marsh.


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 Guys Marsh.

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 HM Prison and Probation Service and include the resident’s name and prison number on the back.

Gifts and parcels

People in Guys Marsh can be sent certain items as gifts from a list of approved suppliers. Contact Guys Marsh for more information on what’s allowed.

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

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Life at Guys Marsh

Guys Marsh 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 Guys Marsh has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Dorset Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Guys Marsh, 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 have access to a shower and a hot meal and drink.

They will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing or family needs.


Each person who arrives at Guys Marsh 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.


Guys Marsh houses around 550 men across 8 residential units in a mixture of single and shared rooms.

Education and work

Guys Marsh runs accredited programmes on thinking skills, drug rehabilitation and anger management.

A variety of work is available to all residents including:

  • farm and estates management
  • laundry
  • kitchen
  • gym
  • industrial cleaning
  • bricklaying
  • contract production workshops

Some of this work can result in recognised external qualifications.

Temporary release

There are opportunities to work outside the prison on temporary licence.

Organisations Guys Marsh works with

Guys Marsh works with Barnardo’s to help children of residents and their families improve contact and strengthen family relationships.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Guys Marsh


Emails to the family support team will be answered twice a week.

Guys Marsh also organises family days and provides support through safer custody and Barnardo’s.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Guys Marsh

Governor: Ian Walters

Telephone (24 hours): 01747 856 400
Fax: 01747 856 401
Find out about call charges


Follow Guys Marsh on Twitter


HMP Guys Marsh

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of any man in Guys Marsh you can call the safer custody hotline on 01747 856 457.

This line is monitored by the safer custody team during office hours and by the night orderly officer every night.

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Published 7 April 2020
Last updated 1 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. New Safer Custody contact number.

  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. Updated: HMP Guys Marsh visiting times and visiting procedure changes during coronavirus.

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

  8. added survey link

  9. First published.