Guidance

Isis Prison

Isis is a men’s prison and young offender institution (YOI) in Thamesmead, South East London. It is named Isis after the ancient name for the River Thames.

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.

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Book and plan your visit to Isis

To visit someone in Isis 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. With each visiting order, 3 adults (aged 10 and over) and 3 children (aged 9 and under) can visit.

Residents can have 2 or 3 visits a month, depending on ‘privileges’.

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 Isis
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

Any help given might not cover the full cost of your travel.

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit by telephone:

Booking line: 020 3356 4030
Monday to Friday: 8:30am to midday, 1pm to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Residents can also apply to book their visits at the biometrics kiosk and when confirmed, they will tell you.

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 2:15pm to 3:15pm, 4pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday: 2:15pm to 3:15pm, 4pm to 5pm
  • Saturday mornings: 9:15am to 10:15am, 10:45am to 11:45am
  • Saturday afternoons: 2:15pm to 3:15pm, 4pm to 5pm

You should allow sufficient time to book in for your visit.

Doors open at 8:30am for morning sessions with last entry at 10:30am.

Doors open at 1:30pm for afternoon sessions with last entry at 3:30pm.

Late visitors will not be allowed entry.

Email: legalvisitsisis@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 020 3356 4034
Monday to Friday: 8:30am to midday, 1pm to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm, 3:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Wednesday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm, 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Doors open at 1:30pm.

If more that 30 minutes late for a visit, you will be refused entry.

Getting to Isis

Find Isis on a map

The closest railway stations are Woolwich Arsenal and Plumstead, where you can catch local buses to the prison.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is a visitor car park, including spaces for Blue Badge holders.

Entering Isis

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.

Isis has a strict dress code policy which means visitors should dress in a family-friendly way. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like vests, low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses, ripped jeans, hats, scarves, gloves, bandanas, high heeled shoes, metal toe cap boots, see through clothing, football shirts or anything with offensive patterns or slogans. Call the visits booking line if you have any questions about the dress code.

An adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £20 in coins. Two or more visitors can take £40 in coins. The money can be used to buy food and drink from the tea bar in the visiting hall.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Isis. 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. Family and friends can relax, buy refreshments and get advice and support from the staff.

Email: isis@prisonadvice.org.uk
Telephone: 020 3356 4324
Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30am to 5:00pm
Sunday, midday to 5:00pm
Find out about call charges

There is a children’s play area and a snack bar in the visiting hall and a play area in the visitor centre.

Family days

Isis holds family days on the last Thursday of every month, except at Easter and Christmas.

These days are designed for the residents to actively build and maintain relationships with their children and stepchildren. The days are given seasonal themes, often with an educational basis. All children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Residents apply to be considered for family days.

Keep in touch with someone at Isis

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

Phone calls

Residents have phones in their rooms so they are able 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 Isis 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 Isis.

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 Isis.

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 ‘NOMS Agency’ or ‘HMPPS’ and include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back.

Gifts and parcels

People in Isis are given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts. Contact Isis for more information on what’s allowed.

In the first 28 days, men can apply to get a clothing parcel handed in. They can apply for another after 6 months. Parcels can be handed in at visits.

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 Isis

Isis 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 Isis 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 Royal Greenwich Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Isis, 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 Isis gets an induction that lasts about 2 weeks. 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, biometric application kiosks and visits work.

Accommodation

Around 600 men live at Isis in 2 house blocks called Thames and Meridian. There is a mixture of single and double rooms.

Facilities include a gym, education and vocational training centre, segregation unit and fitness academy.

Education and work

Residents have access to education and training provided by Novus.

They can get academic qualifications, as well as certificates in a broad range of work-related subjects, including:

  • construction
  • waste management
  • bicycle repair
  • barbering
  • industrial cleaning
  • catering
  • media and reprographics
  • broadcasting and media studies
  • English for students of other languages

Isis runs a number of accredited offending behaviour programmes.

Residents also have the opportunity to apply for jobs in almost all aspects of prison life. Those who do a learning and development qualification can apply for jobs as mentors and peer group workers.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Isis

Family support in the visitor centres, family days, family group work and one to one case work around family issues is all provided by the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT).

Specialist staff and voluntary workers make sure that friends and families get a warm welcome. They offer emotional support and practical information about prison life and procedures.

Extra individual support and information packs can be given to first time visitors.

Family group work is offered which focuses on how fathers can build and maintain healthy relationships with their families while in prison. They help men to set realistic goals for family life, to consider the practical and emotional impact on themselves and their families and how to deal with them.

Oxleas also provides family-focused sessions about issues such as drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, wellbeing, relationships, communication, resilience and family group conferencing. It can also refer family members on to relevant services they may find useful.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Isis

Governor: Emily Thomas

Telephone: 020 3356 4000
Monday to Friday: 7am to 8pm
Weekends: 7am to 5pm
Fax: 0203 356 4001
Find out about call charges

Address

HMP/YOI Isis
Western Way
Thamesmead
SE28 0NZ

See map

Safer custody hotline

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

This is a voicemail service which is checked twice a day on most days.

Your call will be returned if you leave all the information asked for in the message: your name and telephone number, the resident’s name and prisoner number, and a brief outline of your concern.

Telephone: 0203 356 4389

In an emergency, call the switchboard.

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Published 21 April 2020
Last updated 6 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. added survey link

  2. First published.