Guidance

Huntercombe Prison

Huntercombe is a prison near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, for foreign national men.

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Book and plan your visit to Huntercombe

Huntercombe 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 Huntercombe 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 Huntercombe.

Contact Huntercombe 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 Huntercombe
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

Huntercombe 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 telephone. There is no online booking service available.

Booking line: 01491 643195

The booking line is open: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday - 10am to 12pm

Visiting times:

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

You should aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of your visit.

Legal visits are on Tuesday mornings and can be booked by email: legalvisits.huntercombe@justice.gov.uk

Getting to Huntercombe

Find Huntercombe on a map

The closest railway station is Henley-on-Thames which is about 7 miles from the prison. You can take a bus or taxi from the station.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is a visitors car park including space for Blue Badge holders.

Entering Huntercombe

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.

Huntercombe has a family-friendly dress code which means visitors should dress appropriately. You will be turned away if you are wearing revealing clothing like low-cut tops or ripped jeans. Additionally, you cannot wear anything with offensive patterns or slogans, football shirts or uniforms. Ask in the visitors centre if you have questions about the dress code.

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Huntercombe. 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 where family and friends can relax before they enter the visiting hall. There will be no refreshments on offer during your visit.

The visiting hall includes a baby changing facility. All areas are wheelchair friendly.

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) offers practical advice and emotional support to friends and family of men in prison.

Telephone: 01491 643 328
Find out about call charges

Keep in touch with someone at Huntercombe

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

Secure video calls

Friends and families are unable to request a video call, the prisoner has to request this through an internal system.

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 Huntercombe using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from prisoners, depending on the rules at Huntercombe.

Letters

You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name, date of birth and prisoner number on the envelope.

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

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

It’s not possible to send any other items or property. You can send prisoners money instead which they can use to buy items through a catalogue system.

Life at Huntercombe

Huntercombe is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

It accommodates foreign national men with between 3 and 30 months left to serve and provides liaison and forums with Home Office Immigration Enforcement.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Huntercombe 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 Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board.

Huntercombe also works with the Samaritans to train prisoners to be Listeners for those who need support during difficult times.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Huntercombe, 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 Huntercombe 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.

Accommodation

Around 480 men live at Huntercombe in a mixture of single and shared rooms.

Education and work

Prisoners have access to a broad programme of learning opportunities, ranging from basic skills, such as English and maths, to higher learning and qualifications. Vocational training is available in bricklaying, painting and decorating, industrial cleaning and kitchen work.

The gym offers a range of activities for prisoners of all physical abilities.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Huntercombe

Family Engagement support for Huntercombe is provided by the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT).

Email: huntercombe@prisonadvice.org.uk

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem, please write to the Governor.

If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

Contact Huntercombe

Governor: David Redhouse

Telephone: 01491 643 100
Fax: 01491 643 101
Find out about call charges

Follow Huntercombe on Twitter

Address

HMP Huntercombe
Nuffield
Henley-on-Thames
Oxfordshire
RG9 5SB

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Huntercombe, contact the safer custody hotline. Leave as much information as possible and a telephone number for staff to call you back.

Email: safercustodyhuntercombe@justice.gov.uk
Telephone: 01491 643 225
Find out about call charges

If it is not urgent, leave a message with your telephone number on the safer communities line on:

Telephone: 0345 039 0015

In an emergency, call the main prison telephone number and ask to speak to the orderly officer.

Published 5 May 2020
Last updated 26 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated rules for sending in money and gifts.

  2. New visiting times and booking information added.

  3. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

  5. Changes to visiting times.

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

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

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

  9. Updated visiting info and removed booking email

  10. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  11. Updated visiting times and visiting procedure changes during coronavirus.

  12. First published.