Guys Marsh Prison

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

Prison visits are temporarily suspended following instructions for people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We will update here as soon as this changes. 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.

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

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 person 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.

Enquiries only:
Telephone: 01747 856 586
Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 3pm and Friday, 11:30am to 1pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Friday: 2pm to 3:45pm
  • Saturday: 2pm to 3:45pm
  • Sunday: 2pm to 3:45pm

Email: at least 7 days in advance.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 01747 856 586
Monday to Friday, 10am to midday and 1:30pm 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, or on Saturdays only a bus service is provided by Friends of Guys Marsh.

To plan your journey by public transport use:

There is free car parking available at Guys Marsh.

Entering Guys Marsh

All visitors aged 16 and older need to bring one of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • benefit book
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • annual public transport season ticket (with photo card)
  • employer ID card (if it shows the name of the visitor and the employer)
  • European Community identity card

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).

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £30 (only new £5 and £10 notes are allowed – £20 notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink from the snack bar in the visiting hall.

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 Friends of Guys Marsh. They can provide you with information and help, you can buy tea or coffee (with loose change only) and there are toys and games available for children.

Inside the prison, the visits canteen sells a wide range of refreshments and snacks. There is a play area with toys and games in the visiting hall.

Family days

Family visits are held regularly in the prison’s gym. The prison governor chooses which residents can apply for these visits. They last for 5 hours with games and activities for families.

Friends of Guys Marsh organises family visits.

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.

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 0800 4961 438.

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

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

Published 7 April 2020
Last updated 25 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated information to include confirmation of secure video calls being available at this prison.

  2. added survey link

  3. First published.