Guidance

Lewes Prison

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

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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.

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

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. You can also register for secure video calls.

You must arrive at least 45 minutes before your visit to allow for security and processing.

HMP Lewes is able to offer social and professional visits for those with mobility concerns, please email SocialVisits.Lewes@justice.gov.uk, if you require support with your visit due to mobility concerns. If you require to change any information on your online booking please contact SocialVisits.Lewes@justice.gov.uk with your requests.

Visiting times

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: 2pm to 3:30pm

All Professional Visits must be booked via email: legalvisits.lewes@justice.gov.uk including face to face.

Virtual Visits using the Video Conference Cloud, can only be booked via legalvisits.lewes@justice.gov.uk, video links cannot be booked over the phone.

Visiting times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: 2pm to 4pm

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 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). You may be turned away if you are wearing items like revealing clothing or clothing with offensive slogans.

You will be able to purchase snacks from the ‘Snack Shop’ located in the main Visits Hall. You are permitted to bring in a total of £15 in coins, (you will not be permitted to bring notes into HMP Lewes).

There are strict controls on what you can take into Lewes. If you are unsure, please seek advice when booking your visit. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

When visiting your partner, family member or friend, there is an expectation that you will remain polite and respectful to all other visitors and all staff. HMP Lewes has the right to deny entry or terminate a visit if a visitor is offensive or aggressive towards any other visitor, prisoner, or member of staff.

Visiting facilities

PACT runs the visitors centre with toys and art materials and a small play area for children. Refreshments will be available to purchase 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 visits

HMP Lewes have introduced a new approach to Family Visits which were previously known as Family Days.

Each day will be split into two sessions, one held in the morning, and one held in the afternoon. Although the Family Visits will be shorter (3 hours per session) having two sessions will support more prisoners having the opportunity to apply for these events and spending time with loved ones.

  • All visitors must be on the prisoners approved visitors list
  • Children are considered an adult from their 18th birthday
  • Applications are submitted by the prisoners and considered by the Family Visits Committee
  • Applications are considered individually, taking into account a number of points including, the available space within the Visits Hall
  • HMP Lewes is governed by the Health and Safety regulations in relations to the overall number of people permitted in the Visits Hall at any one time
  • This overall figure will also include Staff and PACT
  • Session times will be from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm
  • The new model permits up to 20 prisoners and their families to take part in the event on each session
  • Activities for children will be available
  • Light refreshments will also be provided by PACT, and the Snack Shop will also be open as usual where your families can purchase light refreshments

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

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

You can request a secure video call with someone in this prison via the Prison Video app.

You will receive a notification when your request has been accepted.

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

Prisoners have phones in their cells 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, 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 are currently not permitted to bring any items into the HMP Lewes for the person you are visiting.

Our processes here at Lewes enable all prisoners to apply for items to be sent in, items that are appropriate to their IEP Level and current status; remanded or convicted.

Process

To have Items sent in, prisoners are required to submit an application to the Reception Team, outlining what they are requesting to have sent in.

The Reception Team will review the applications and will either approve or reject it. The application will then be return to the prisoner on his wing.

If the application is approved, it will be returned to the prisoner and a copy sent to the Gate Lodge ‘the entrance into HMP Lewes’. Only once the prisoner receives an approved application, should they ask the person family member or friend, to send them the items. Please note that when sending a parcel into HMP Lewes, you are required record your (the sender) name and return address on the outside of the packing. You are also required to clearly list all the items that are within the parcel, also on the outside of the parcel.

However, all books can be sent directly to the prisoner without the prisoner having to submit an application. This includes books purchased form one of the ‘Approved Retailers’, but senders are advised to clearly identify the contents as ‘Books’ with their name and return address on the outside of the parcel.

Approved Retailers

  • Blackwell
  • Foyles Waterstones
  • Mr B’s Emporium of reading delights
  • Wordery
  • W.H Smiths
  • Housman’s
  • Incentive plus
  • Prisons Org UK

Any book purchased form a retailer not on the approved retailers list, must not be sent directly to the prisoner at HMP Lewes. These books must be sent directly to the family member/friend, who will then need to send the books to the prisoner as described above.

Prisoner are permitted to apply for items to be sent in during their first 28 days at HMP Lewes. Thereafter all prisoners may ask for further items to be sent in once every 12 months, or when they have been awarded Enhanced IEP (Incentives and Earned Privileges)

A full list of approved retailers can be found on - HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F.

HMP Lewes’s ‘facilities list’ tells you what is allowed in parcels and is available in the visitors centre.

All parcels will be x-rayed, checked by search dogs and tested for illicit drugs before handed over to the intended recipient.

Parcels or items within the parcel containing or contaminating, illicit items, will seized and handed to the police for further action.

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 prisoner 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.

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.

Induction

Each prisoner 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 prisoners in a mixture of single and double cells.

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

PACT 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.

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 01273 785100 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 01273 785392 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 unwantedprisonercontact@justice.gov.uk or contact by phone.

Problems and complaints

If you have any other problem contact Lewes.

Inspection reports

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

Contact Lewes

Governor: Mark Creaven

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: Correspondence.Lewes@justice.gov.uk

Address

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

See map

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Updates to this page

Published 11 March 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 visiting times.

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

  8. New visiting times and booking information added.

  9. 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.

  10. Updated contact email address.

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

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

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

  14. Updated the email contact address for families.

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

  16. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

  18. updated survey link

  19. Updated survey link

  20. First published.

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