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

To visit someone in Guys Marsh you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit at least 7 days 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 Guys Marsh.

Contact Guys Marsh 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 Guys Marsh
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

Guys Marsh is currently operating a limited visits schedule for family and friends. You can book your visit by telephone.

Booking line: 01747 856 586

The booking line is open:

  • Monday to Thursday: 1pm to 3pm
  • Friday: 11.30am to 1pm

Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Friday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Saturday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 2pm to 4pm


You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 01747 856 586
Monday to Thursday, 8am to 4.30pm and Friday, 8am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times are Thursdays 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4pm.

Getting to Guys Marsh

Find Guys Marsh on a map

The closest railway station is Gillingham (Dorset), which is around 6 miles away. From there you will need to get a taxi.

To plan your journey by public transport use:

There is free car parking available at Guys Marsh.

Entering Guys Marsh

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.

Visitors under the age of 16 will need to bring a birth certificate.

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Guys Marsh 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).

There is a canteen for refreshments run by Expia. Visitors can take in a maximum of £30 per group of which £20 can be spent during the visit. The £10 remainder can be used to buy goods from the canteen for the prisoner to take back with them. Prisoners cannot take back any other food that has not been purchased from the canteen.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Guys Marsh. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker 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 centre, run by PACT. They can provide you with information and help, you can buy refreshments from the vending machine, and there are toys and games available for children.

Inside the prison there is a play area with toys and games in the visiting hall.

To contact the visitor centre please call 01747 685824.

Family days/Wellbeing days

Wellbeing Visits are held in the prison throughout the year. Prisoners are able to apply for these visits which last for 4 hours with games, activities and refreshments for all.

These visits are organised by PACT and various departments in the Prison and are supported by Friends of Guys Marsh while also allowing for fair and equal opportunity for all who apply.

Keep in touch with someone at Guys Marsh

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

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 cells 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.

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.

Prisoner voicemail

This service is used to exchange voicemails in a fast and easy way with your families, friends and loved ones. To use this service, please sign up on via the Prison Voicemail website.


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 prisoner, 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 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

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.

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.

Life at Guys Marsh

Guys Marsh 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 Guys Marsh 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 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 prisoner 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 prisoners across 8 residential units in a mixture of single and shared cells.

Education and work

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

A variety of work is available to all prisoners 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 PACT to help children of prisoners and their families improve contact and strengthen family relationships.

Support for family and friends

Family services at Guys Marsh are provided by PACT.

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 PACT.

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 01747 856 400 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 Guys Marsh prison, call the safer custody hotline or contact the prison Safer Custody team using the web form (the team will pick up all contact forms within 72 hours).

Telephone: 01747 856 452
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.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Guys Marsh.

Inspection report and action plan

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

Contact Guys Marsh

Governor: Niall Bryant

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


Follow Guys Marsh on Twitter


HMP Guys Marsh

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

Published 7 April 2020
Last updated 15 February 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated Safer custody number and information

  2. Secure video calls update.

  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: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

  6. Updated physical contact guidance

  7. Updated rules for sending in money and gifts.

  8. New visiting times and booking information added.

  9. New Safer Custody contact number.

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

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

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

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

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

  16. added survey link

  17. First published.