Guidance

Lewes Prison

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

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.

Book and plan your visit to Lewes

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. Residents on remand (pending trial) can have 2 visits a week. Convicted residents (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

You can book your visit online.

If you do not get a confirmation email within 3 days, email: socialvisits.lewes@justice.gov.uk

You can also book by telephone.

Booking lines: 01273 785 271 and 01273 785 277
Tuesdays, 9am to midday and 2pm to 4:30pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Tuesday: 9:30am to 11:15am, 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Wednesday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Thursday: 9:30am to 11:15am, 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Friday: 9:30am to 11:15am
  • Saturday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Sunday: 2:15pm to 3:45pm

You must arrive at the visitors centre at least 30 minutes before your visit to allow for security and processing. When you visit, you can book your next visit with the desk staff.

Email: legalvisits.lewes@justice.gov.uk

Emails are dealt with during office hours so allow 2 working days for a reply.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking lines: 01273 785 271 and 01273 785 277
Monday to Friday: 9:30am to midday, 2pm to 4:30pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 9:30am to 10:15am, 10:15am to 11am and 2:30pm to 3:15pm, 3:15pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday: 2:30pm to 3:15pm and 3:15pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday: 2:30pm to 3:15pm and 3:15pm to 4pm
  • Thursday: 9:30am to 10:15am, 10:15am to 11am and 2:30pm to 3:15pm, 3:15pm to 4pm
  • Friday: 9:30am to 10:15am, 10:15am to 11am
  • Saturday: 2:30pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 2:30pm to 4pm

Visits must be booked 24 hours in advance and can be booked up to a month ahead.

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 and older need to bring one of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • benefit book
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • European Community identity card

Or they must bring 2 of the following:

  • birth or marriage certificate
  • rail or bus pass with photo
  • cheque book or credit/debit card (counts as one form of ID)
  • young person’s ‘proof of age’ card
  • trade union or student union membership card
  • library card, if it has a signature that can be compared with the visitor’s signature
  • rent book
  • non-EU foreign identity or resident’s card

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).

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £15 in coins (notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink from the tuck shop in the visiting hall but can not be given to residents.

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. You can buy drinks and snacks.

There are also toys in the visiting hall.

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

Family days

Spurgeons children’s charity hosts family days 6 times a year. They are an opportunity for dads to spend time with their children and families, taking part in crafts, music and games.

Keep in touch with someone at Lewes

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

Phone calls

Residents 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.

Email

You can send emails to someone in Lewes using the Email a Prisoner service.

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 Lewes.

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

Each week, residents 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 also send:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to ‘The Governor’ and include the resident’s name and prisoner number and your name and address on the back. If you send cash, you must include these details in a letter.

Gifts and parcels

You can not bring anything with you for the resident on a visit 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. 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 the resident is allowed and is available in the visitors centre.

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

Life at Lewes

Lewes is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where residents 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.

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

Arrival and first night

When a resident 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.

Induction

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.

Accommodation

Lewes holds 692 residents 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. 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 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

Email: prisonersfamilieslewes@justice.gov.uk

Address

HMP/YOI Lewes
1 Brighton Road
Lewes
East Sussex
BN7 1EA

See map

Safer custody hotline

Residents 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 resident’s 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: safercustodylewes@justice.gov.uk

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

Published 11 March 2020