Lewes Prison

Lewes is a men’s prison in Lewes, East Sussex.

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Book and plan your visit to Lewes

Now that regular COVID testing of people in the wider community has ended, you are no longer required to take a COVID test before coming to see someone for a visit, although we would still encourage you to do so.

We will continue to run social visits whilst it is safe to do so.

Visiting rules may change if there is an outbreak within the prison, this may include bringing back testing before visits for a short time to protect you, the person you are visiting and staff.

If you are unable to visit someone in prison you can still keep in touch.

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 Lewes you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit at least 24 hours in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit. Prisoners on remand (pending trial) can have 2 visits a week. Convicted prisoners (already sentenced) can have 2 visits a month, plus one extra, depending on privileges. You can only visit once on weekends.

Contact Lewes if you have more 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 Lewes
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

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

You must arrive at least 30 minutes before your visit to allow for security and processing.

Booking line: 01273 785 277 or 01273 785 271 The booking line is open everyday, 8am to 5pm Find out about call charges

Visiting times

  • Monday to Wednesday: 2pm to 3:30pm
  • Friday: 9am to 10.30am
  • Saturday and Sunday: 2pm to 3:30pm

There are currently no legal visits taking place.

Getting to Lewes

Find Lewes on a map

The closest railway station is Lewes. You can get a 5 minute taxi ride to the prison or it’s a 25 minute walk.

To plan your journey by public transport:

Only Blue Badge holders can park at the prison. There are 2 spaces next to the visitors centre. Tell the prison staff you are parking here, show them your Blue Badge and give them your vehicle registration number. Visitors centre staff can help you with this.

There is metered parking on the roads outside the prison.

Entering Lewes

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.

Lewes has a dress code policy, which means visitors should wear family-friendly clothes (no vests, no low-cut tops, no shorts, no short dresses and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons).

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Lewes. 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

Spurgeons runs the visitors centre with toys and art materials and a small play area for children. There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

If you have a disability, let the prison know and they will make sure your visit is on the lower level.

Family days

There are currently no family days being run.

Keep in touch with someone at Lewes

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

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 have phones in their rooms but they will always have to call you. They buy phone credits to do this and can call anytime between 6am and midnight.

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 Lewes using the Email a Prisoner service.


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 Lewes.

All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers.

Each week, prisoners can send 2 second class letters and one first class legal letter.

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

You can not bring anything with you for the person you are visiting unless they have already applied for that item to be brought in. This application must be completed within the first 28 days of arrival in prison, and at least 3 days ahead of your visit.

You can hand in items at the prison anytime between Monday and Friday, during normal visit times.

Family and friends 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.

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

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers. The ‘facilities list’ tells you what is allowed in parcels and is available in the visitors centre.

After the first 28 days, additional items must be ordered by the prisoner from a catalogue.

Life at Lewes

Lewes 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 Lewes 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.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When someone first arrives at Lewes, 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, and they are only allowed 2 minutes.

They will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.


Each person who arrives at Lewes 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.


Lewes holds 692 prisoners in a mixture of single and double rooms.

Facilities include a gym, library, a healthcare unit, an onsite pharmacy and a multi-faith centre.

Education and work

Lewes provides a range of work, education and training facilities including IT, kitchen work, painting and decorating, barista work, food safety and preparation, waste management, horticulture, first aid and sports leadership.

A physical education programme is offered, as well as weekly library sessions and there are courses to reduce the risk of re-offending.

Temporary release

Applications for release on temporary licence (ROTL) can be submitted and are individually assessed.

Organisations Lewes works with

Lewes works with the Samaritans to train a team of ‘Listeners’ who are then available day and night for those who need additional support.

It also works with The Forward Trust, which offers help around substance misuse and delivers a number of ‘family ties workshops’. This is in partnership with Care UK and can offer detoxification, if necessary.

Lewes also works with Storybook Dads which helps dads create a bedtime story CD or DVD for their children.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Lewes

Spurgeons delivers family services at Lewes, offering support and advice. It works alongside Sussex Prisoners’ Families, a community organisation which provides peer support and help in court.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Lewes.

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

Contact Lewes

Governor: Hannah Lane

Telephone: 01273 785 100
Monday to Friday, 7am to 8pm and weekends, 7am to 5pm
There is a 24 hour redirect service outside these hours
Fax: 01273 785 101
Find out about call charges



1 Brighton Road
East Sussex

See map

Safer custody hotline

Prisoners or their families can use the safer custody hotline to report bullying or concerns about self harm or suicide.

It is staffed during office hours. At other times, there is an answerphone which is checked and followed up every day. Leave your name, the prisoners name, a return contact number and brief details about your concern and a member of staff will call you back.

Safer custody hotline: 01273 785 392
Find out about call charges

You can also email:

If it’s urgent, call the main switchboard number (staffed 24 hours a day) and ask for the orderly officer.

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

Published 11 March 2020
Last updated 1 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

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

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

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

  5. Updated visiting times.

  6. Added link to information about testing for physical contact at visits.

  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 contact email address.

  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 local restriction tiers.

  13. Updated the email contact address for families.

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

  15. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  16. Updated: HMP Lewes visiting times and visiting procedure changes in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  17. updated survey link

  18. Updated survey link

  19. First published.