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.

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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.

There may be a limit to the number of visits a prisoner can have. You can check this with Isis prison.

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

Visits can only be booked by prisoners led application.

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Wednesday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Thursday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Saturday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Sunday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm

Legal visits are available on:

  • Tuesday to Thursday: 2:15pm to 4:15pm and 3:15pm to 4:15pm

You can book a legal visit by emailing

Or you can call: 0203 356 4030 / 0203 356 4034

Getting to Isis

Find Isis on a map

The closest railway station is Plumstead, and DLR station is Woolwich Arsenal.

Local buses are 244 and 380.

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 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.

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, excessively large metal hair accessories, non-prescription glasses i.e. sunglasses, items of clothing that display offensive abusive or insulting words or gestures, shorts which are shorter than mid thigh to knee length, excessively revealing, i.e. very shortskirts/dresses, see through tops, visible or exposed underwear (with exception of brassier straps in the shoulder area), ripped clothing where the rips are in the torso, buttocks area or crotch/groin area or less than 5 inches away from the crotch/groin or buttocks area, helmets of any kind (except medical issue), smart watches of any kind including fitness trackers, footwear with plastic or metal tags that resemble property tags, steel toe capped shoes/boots or cycle/motorcycle shoes, 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.

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 during weekdays and get advice and support from the staff.

Telephone: 020 3356 4324
Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30am to 5:00pm
Sunday, midday to 5:00pm
Find out about call charges

The children’s play area and a snack bar are currently closed.

Family days

We aim to provide four family days a year: Easter, Summer Holidays, October half-term and Christmas holidays.

These will be divided by one family visit per residential unit.

Keep in touch with someone at Isis

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

Phone calls

Prisoners have phones in their cells 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.


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, depending on the rules at Isis.

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

Secure video calls at this prison can be requested by prisoners only.

You will receive a notification if a prisoner has requested a video call with you.

Read more about how it works


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 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

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, prisoners 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.

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.

Life at Isis

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

Security and safeguarding

Every prisoner at Isis 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.

Arrival and first night

When someone 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.


Each prisoner 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.


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

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

Education and work

Prisoners 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.

Prisoners 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 prisoners 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.

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 0203 356 4000 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 0203 356 4389 Call this number if you have concerns about a prisoner’s safety or wellbeing which are serious but not life-threatening or complete a safer custody contact form on the Prisoners’ Families Helpline website.
Staff Integrity Hotline 0800 917 6877
(24 hours answering machine)
This number can be called anonymously. If you are concerned about a prisoner being bullied by a member of staff, you can use this number. As this line is managed separately from the prison, you can call this number anonymously.
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 Isis.

Inspection reports

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


Western Way
SE28 0NZ

See map

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Updates to this page

Published 21 April 2020
Last updated 2 August 2022 + show all updates
  1. Secure video calls update.

  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. New visiting times and booking information added.

  8. 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.

  9. Updated visit info

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

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

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

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  14. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  15. Added confirmation of secure video calls made available at Isis prison.

  16. added survey link

  17. First published.

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