High Down Prison

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

Applies to England and Wales

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Book and plan your visit to High Down

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

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

You can book your visit online or by telephone. Online bookings are only available to visitors who are already on the prisoner’s visitors’ list. This list is separate to the prisoner’s pin-phone list.

Visits can be booked up to 28 days in advance.

Telephone booking line: 0207 147 6570
Find out about call charges

The booking line is open:

  • Monday to Friday: 10am to midday
  • closed on bank holidays, Christmas day and Boxing day.

To make amendments to bookings, you can either phone the booking line or email by midday the day before the visit at the latest. If the visit is at a weekend, any changes have to be made by midday on Friday before the visit.

Visiting times:

  • Monday and Friday: No visits
  • Tuesday to Thursday: 9:30am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4pm (depending on the houseblock location of the prisoner)
  • Saturday and Sunday: 2pm to 4pm for all houseblocks

Last entry time for the morning session is 10am and Last entry time for the afternoon session is: 2.30pm.

Two hours are allocated for a visit, with a minimum entitlement of a 1 hour session.

Refreshments can be ordered and paid for before your visit when in the Visitors’ Centre. We accept cash only (coins and notes) with a maximum of £20 per family.

Baby changing facilities available in Visitors’ Centre and Visits Hall toilets.

For further information, please phone the Visitors’ Centre Information Line on 020 7147 6360.

If no reply, leave a message and staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please email and request a booking form for a face to face visit.

Legal visits happen at the same time as for family and friends time slots as stated above.

You can book a video link by telephone, 0207 147 6331

Video visits time slots

You can book hourly slots from Monday to Friday: 9am to midday and 2pm 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.

ID requirements for children under 16 are a birth certificate of passport.

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

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. 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 and will need a £1 coin which will be returned to you when you leave. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

You may bring in dummies, baby wipes, nappies, milk powder and prescribed medication. All items must be in a clear plastic bag. The prison can provide baby wipes and nappies if requested. All items may be bagged and tagged prior to entering the prison.

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.

Dress code

Highdown welcomes and encourages prisoners to have visits with their loved ones, but please remember that when visiting the establishment that you should behave appropriately.

Highdown has revised its dress code policy for all external visitors which allows us to foster a safe, decent and relaxed visits hall.

To maintain decency in the Visits Hall our dress code must be adhered to. This is to prevent inappropriate clothing being worn in and around the presence of other visitors and staff.

Please be advised that passive dogs are used as part of our searching process and they cannot differentiate between someone who is fully dressed and someone who is not.

The following is a definitive list of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable:

  • Hats/scarves – May not be worn in the Visits Hall with the exception of religious headwear (e.g. Sikh turbans, Jewish yarmulkes, Muslim kufi, the hijab and Rastafarian hats). These will be subject to searching as per the HMPPS Searching Policy.
  • Gloves/Sunglasses – Are not to be worn. These should be left in the lockers provided in the visits centre.
  • Hooded tops – can only be worn by children under the age of 10 years old.
  • Skirts/Dresses – Knee length skirts can be worn, as they must cover the top third portion of the legs and when sat down underwear must not be seen.
  • Shorts – high cut shorts are not permitted, and these must cover the top 2 thirds of the leg.
  • Coats – No thick, padded, torn, hooded coats are permitted. If they are hooded, then the hood must be detachable
  • Tops & Dress tops – torn or ripped tops may not be worn and must be sufficient to cover both breasts, back and the midriff area and must not be transparent. Cleavage must be appropriately covered so as not to cause offence, athletic singlet’s (vests) are not permitted.
  • Trousers & Leggings – torn jeans with holes in may not be worn. Only one pair may be worn. Leggings and linen trousers must not be transparent.
  • Footwear should be enclosed – Sandals/flip-flops may be worn but these are at the visitors own risk due to the visits area being outdoors prior to entering the social visits hall and climbing stairs. Steel-toe capped boots, or designer studded shoes will not be permitted.
  • Logos – Clothing displaying offensive patterns or logos will not be permitted (such as cannabis leaves, racist logos or offensive language)

If you are wearing tight clothing, underwear must be worn.

If a visitor arrives inappropriately dressed, they will be offered the opportunity to wear prison issue jogging bottoms and/or a sweatshirt. If a visitor does not wish to wear these items, then entry will be refused, and the visiting order will be lost.

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.

Telephone: 020 7147 6360
Find out about call charges

Refreshments can be ordered and paid for before your visit when in the Visitors’ Centre. We accept cash only (coins and notes) with a maximum of £20 per family.

Baby changing facilities available in the Visitor’s Centre and visits hall.

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

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

You can request a secure video call with someone in this prison via the Prison Video app.

You will receive a notification when your request has been accepted.

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

Prisoners 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 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.


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

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 or hand them in.

Prisoners have to book an appointment at reception, prior to anything being handed in by a visitor.

The property desk is open: * Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 9:15am to 10am and 1:15pm to 2pm * Saturday and Sunday: 1:15pm to 2pm on

For the full list of approved retailers, you can read the HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F.

Contact High Down for more information.

Family days

High Down runs six family visits a year. These take place in children’s school holidays. They are a multidisciplinary event supported by the PACT team.

The IPP and Lifer Unit are also planning events for their cohort.

Sycamore Tree Project invites family members into the prison to attend graduation.

These are widely advertised on the kiosk that prisoners have access to.

Homework Club runs once a month on a Saturday afternoon supervised by PACT in the Visit’s Hall.

Getting to High Down

Find High Down prison on a map

The closest railway station is Sutton or Belmont which are a short taxi ride away or you can take the number 80 bus.

The 80 bus also passes Morden Station if you are travelling on the Northern Line.

To plan your journey by public transport use:

There is a free visitors car park.

There is also a disabled visitors car park behind the Visits Centre.

Life at High Down

High Down is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where prisoners 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.

For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website.

If you have any concerns about a prisoner at High Down, contact the Safer Custody team.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner 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.


Each prisoner who arrives at High Down gets an induction that lasts two 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.


Around 1,200 prisoners live at High Down in six houseblocks. There is a mixture of single and shared cells. All cells have a toilet, sink and a phone.

Prisoners on silver and gold behaviour levels can rent TVs in their cells. Enhanced level prisoners can also borrow DVDs from the library.

Sports and fitness facilities include two 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 at High Down are encouraged to take part in meaningful activity and gain qualifications by enrolling into education and vocational training or work in one of the prison industries or domestic roles.

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.

To contact the Families and Significant Others lead, you can send an email to

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 0207 147 6630  if you think a prisoner is at immediate risk of harm. Ask for the Orderly Officer and explain that your concern is an emergency.

Contact category Phone number Additional information
Non-emergency 0207 147 6571 Call this number if you have concerns about a prisoner’s safety or wellbeing which are serious but not life-threatening. You can also complete a safer custody contact form on the Prisoners’ Families Helpline website.
Staff Integrity Hotline 0800 917 6877 (24 hours answering machine) This line is managed separately from the prison can be called anonymously. If you are concerned about a prisoner being bullied by a member of staff, you can use this number.
Prisoners’ Families Helpline 0808 808 2003 The Prisoners’ Families Helpline can provide confidential support, advice and guidance.
Unwanted Prisoner Contact 0300 060 6699 If a prisoner is contacting you and you want them to stop, you can use the Unwanted Prisoner Contact Service. You can complete the Stop prisoner contact online form, email or contact by phone.

Problems and complaints

If you have any other problem contact High Down.

Inspection reports

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for High Down in response to independent inspections.

Contact High Down

Governor: Emily Martin

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


HMP/YOI High Down
High Down Lane

See map

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Published 5 May 2020
Last updated 4 January 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated safer custody information and contact information for the families lead

  2. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

  3. Added link to new safer custody information under Security and safeguarding.

  4. Updated visiting information: Reduced visit schedule and testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

  5. Updated visiting information: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

  6. Updated physical contact guidance

  7. Updated physical contact guidance

  8. New visiting times and booking information added.

  9. 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.

  10. Updated visit info

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

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

  13. Updated eductaion and st Mungo's trust

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

  15. Updated governor details

  16. Updated governor name

  17. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  18. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

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

  21. First published.