Guidance

High Down Prison

High Down is a men’s prison and young offender institution (YOI) near Sutton in Surrey.

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Book and plan your visit to High Down

High Down 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 High Down you must:

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

Visits for men who are on remand can be booked up to 8 days in advance. Visits for men who have been convicted can be booked up to 28 days in advance.

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 High Down.

Contact High Down 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 High Down
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

High Down 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 contacting High Down or you can also register to use the secure video calls service. There is no online booking service available.

Booking line: 020 7147 6570
Booking line opening times: Monday to Wednesday 10am to midday and 2pm to 4pm, Thursday and Friday 10am to midday
Find out about call charges Email: SocialVisits.HighDown@justice.gov.uk

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday to Thursday: 9:30am to 10:30am and 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Monday and Friday: Purple Visits only

Booking line: 020 7147 6570
Booking line opening times: Monday to Wednesday 10am to midday and 2pm to 4pm, Thursday and Friday 10am to midday
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday to Thursday: 10am to 11am and 3pm to 4pm

Entering High Down

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.

High Down has a family-friendly dress code policy which means visitors should dress appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing things like see-through or revealing clothing, low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses, or anything with offensive patterns or slogans.

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a small amount of money in coins (notes are not allowed).

There are strict controls on what you can take into High Down. 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 the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) charity.

It is open from 8:30am to 4:45pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 12:30pm to 4:45pm on weekends.

Email: highdown@prisonadvice.org.uk
Telephone: 020 7147 6360
Find out about call charges

There will be no refreshments available during your visit. The children’s play area is currently not available to use.

Keep in touch with someone at High Down

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

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 do not have phones in their rooms 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.

Email

You can send emails to someone in High Down using the Email a Prisoner service.

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

Letters

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 High Down.

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

Friends and family can hand in clothing for prisoners within the first 28 days of their arrival at High Down.

The items should be handed in to the visitors centre between 10:30am and 11:45am on visiting days. You must have a visit booked when you bring clothing in.

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 High Down for more information.

Life at High Down

High Down 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 High Down 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 Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When someone first arrives at High Down, 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.

Induction

Each person who arrives at High Down gets an induction that lasts 3 days. 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.

Accommodation

Around 1100 men live at High Down in 6 hallblocks. There is a mixture of single and shared rooms.

Prisoners on standard or enhanced behaviour levels can rent TVs in their rooms. Enhanced level prisoners can also borrow DVDs from the library.

Sports and fitness facilities include 2 gyms with multi-purpose courts, weights and exercise equipment, outdoor fields for team sports, and a broad programme of team activities and classes.

High Down has a diverse, multi-faith chaplaincy team providing services and support.

Education and work

Prisoners have access to education and training provided by The Manchester College. The curriculum includes a wide range of work-based subjects, such as health and safety, customer service, bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, and painting and decorating. Literacy and numeracy form part of every course.

Prisoners can also work and earn qualifications in the kitchens, industrial cleaning, library, laundry and farms and gardens.

Organisations High Down works with

High Down is a venue for the The Clink Restaurant, a public restaurant run by prisoners in partnership with The Clink Charity. The prisoners study for NVQs in cooking, food service and cleaning while they work. They also receive mentoring upon release, including support with employment and accommodation.

St Giles Trust helps prisoners find housing as they approach release.

Kent, Sussex & Surrey Seetec Justice and London MTC Novo work with the National Probation Service to help prisoners settle back into the community with advice on housing, employment, money management and substance misuse.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact High Down

Governor: Jo Sims

Telephone: 020 7147 6300
Fax: 020 7147 6301
Find out about call charges

Address

HMP/YOI High Down
High Down Lane
Sutton
Surrey
SM2 5PJ

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in High Down, call the safer custody hotline.

Telephone: 020 7147 6571
Find out about call charges

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

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

Published 5 May 2020
Last updated 5 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated physical contact guidance

  2. Updated physical contact guidance

  3. New visiting times and booking information added.

  4. 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.

  5. Updated visit info

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

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

  8. Updated eductaion and st Mungo's trust

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

  10. Updated governor details

  11. Updated governor name

  12. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  14. Added confirmation of secure video calling availability at this prison.

  15. Updated governor name to Katie Jefferson (acting).

  16. First published.