Guidance

Low Newton Prison and Young Offender Institution

Low Newton is a prison and young offender institution (YOI) in Brasside, near Durham, for women aged 18 and over.

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Book and plan your visit to Low Newton

Low Newton is is now offering visits for family, friends and significant others, in line with stage 1 of the National Framework for Prisons.

Find out more about visiting someone in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also follow @HMPPS on Twitter and read a rolling update page.

We are now allowing physical contact at social visits following a negative rapid test. Find out more here.

There are a number of other ways to contact someone in prison if you are unable to visit them.

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003. You will not be able to book a visit using this number.

New prisoners are allowed one unbooked ‘reception visit’ in their first 7 days at Low Newton. Family or friends need to come to the Prison Visitors centre at one of the set visiting times and state that they are there for a “reception visit’.

All other visits to Low Newton must be booked 48 hours in advance.

Unconvicted prisoners can have up to 3 visits Monday to Friday and 1 visit on a weekend.

Women who have been convicted can have at least 2 visits each month. This is reviewed each month so they might be able to get more visits.

To book a visit to someone you must be on their visitor list and have the required ID. Prisoners must submit a visitor request form to security to add people to their list. This must include date of birth for all visitors.

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

All visitors are required to arrive at the visitors centre between 1pm and 1:30pm as it can take time for ID to be checked. Any late arrivals may be refused entry. Temperature checking will be in place and entry refused for symptomatic persons. Visitors must bring and wear a face covering from arrival at the visitors centre and throughout the entire visit and must not be removed until you have left the establishment (excludes children under 11 years old).

Contact with prisoners for adults is permitted on production of a negative COVID test on arrival. Proof will need to be shown. Children under the age of 11 do not need to provide test evidence.

Not wearing a mask will only be considered with a relevant medical document. Refreshments will not be on sale or provided in the visitors centre or visits room. One clear bottle of milk will be permitted for babies along with changing materials. There will be no play areas open in either the visitors’ centre or visits room.

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 Low Newton
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

Low Newton is currently operating a limited visits schedule for family and friends. You can book your visit by telephone. There is no online booking service available.

Telephone booking line: 0300 303 0632
The booking line is open: Monday to Friday: 9.15am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Thursday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Friday 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Sunday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Legal and professional visits can be booked via the central booking telephone line 0300 303 0632.

The booking line is open: Monday to Friday: 9.15am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

On-line bookings are currently suspended.

Video-link may be available subject to availability. Please email: omu.lownewton@justice.gov.uk

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Thursday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Friday 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Sunday: 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Getting to Low Newton

Find Low Newton on a map

The closest railway station is Durham. Buses run to Low Newton from North Road, which is a short walk from the station.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is a visitors car park at the front of the prison but parking is limited during the week. There are 2 spaces for Blue Badge holders. These cannot be booked in advance.

The visitors centre can provide taxi information.

Entering Low Newton

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.

Visitors should dress appropriately, or you could be turned away.

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

You will need to leave any valuables in a locker before entering the visitor area.

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

On visiting days the Nepacs visitors centre, (outside the prison next to the visitors car park) is open from 12:30pm to 4pm. Visitors centre staff can provide information and support.

The snack bar and childrens play area is currently suspended. Toilet facilities are available. The visits hall will be limited to 10 prisoners and a maximum of 30 visitors per session.

Visitors using wheelchairs need to make their own arrangements to travel from the visitors centre to the prison. There are no extra prison staff available to push wheelchair users. The route to the main visits hall from the visitors centre is ramped to allow access and takes around 4 minutes.

Keeping in touch with someone at Low Newton

There are several ways you can keep in touch with a prisoner during their time at Low Newton.

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

All rooms at Low Newton now have telephones. Women have phones in their own rooms so they will always have to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this. Prisoners can make calls between 7.30am and 9pm for a maximum of 60 minutes per day.

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 up to a week before they are able to call.

There are phones on all wings of the prison that can be accessed at certain times. The maximum call time is 15 minutes per prisoner.

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 Low Newton using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from the prisoner, depending on the rules at Low Newton.

Letters

Include the person’s name and prison number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prison number, contact Low Newton or use the Prisoner Location Service.

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

Parcels are permitted into HMP Low Newton with the following restrictions:

  • All parcels sent in should be done so after the correct approval has been granted by the prison and only from the approved sender:

Unauthorised parcels will be refused.

  • 12 month prisoner parcel allowance –(allowance runs Jan1st – Dec31St)
  • 4 x a year parcels for Enhanced Prisoners
  • 2 x a year parcels for Standard Prisoners
  • 0 x parcels for Basic Prisoners

Only items on the current facilities list will be permitted. All parcels should be clearly marked with the senders’ information.

There is a limit to property allowances – please be aware when sending parcels in that items exceeding the allowance will be held or returned to sender.

Flowers are permitted to be sent in but all orders must be via approved suppliers.

Prisoners are given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts from a catalogue or the on-site shop. Contact Low Newton for more information on what is allowed.

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

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.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Life at Low Newton

Low Newton is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where women can plan for a positive future and learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Low Newton has a right to feel safe. The staff at Low Newton are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

Safeguarding processes are overseen by the County Durham Safeguarding Adults Inter-agency Partnership for prisoners who live in County Durham. For other areas of Cumbria, Northumberland and Cleveland, different local partners may be used.

Low Newton trains prisoners to be ‘listeners’ for those who need support during difficult times.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Low Newton, 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.

They will be offered a hot meal and shower and get a pack of essential items and £2 of phone credit.

An interpreter will be available if needed.

Induction

Each person who arrives at Low Newton 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

Around 340 women live at Low Newton.

The accommodation is a mix of single cells with their own or shared washing facilities. There are also some 3-person cells.

Telephones are available to prisoners on wings and are accessible by PIN-phone accounts. There are no phones in cells.

Faith services

Chaplains offer counselling and support. There is a multi-faith group and special events like a Christmas carol service.

Prisoners can apply to attend Sunday services. Multi-faith chaplains visit each week and there are weekly prayer and faith groups.

Education and work

The education provider is working in line with current Level 2 restrictions. In-Cell packs are provided twice weekly and distance learning is still available. Wamitab (cleaning) and Ocado (sewing) work parties are now running as per the local EDM/LOPs.

Gym sessions for prisoners available outside – weather permitting.

Education and training opportunities include:

  • health and hygiene training
  • gardening skills
  • call centre skills
  • hairdressing, fashion and beauty
  • literacy and numeracy
  • life skills, including child-parent studies
  • IT

The psychology department offers treatment programmes including:

  • enhanced thinking skills
  • relapse prevention
  • life skills development

Women also have the opportunity to take on orderlies responsibilities, such as in the gym and reception unit, and to get involved in cookery, art and craft.

Women have access to a library and support from a visiting librarian.

There is also a ‘drop in’ learning facility using computer based learning packages. Both women and staff choose their own time and pace to learn.

Temporary release

Women can sometimes be released on temporary licence, based on a full risk assessment, to help them prepare more gradually for return to the community.

Some women get to live with families for short periods of time and can use this time to plan accommodation or research education and work opportunities for when they are released.

Some women also have work placements in the community, being released on a day-to-day basis to allow them to be in the community and develop their work skills.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Low Newton

NEPACS are providing remote contact/support to families/friends coming in for social visits. A family support worker available is via OMU.

Twitter updates are posted via @HMPLowNewton and you can direct message the team – responses within 24 hours.

The email a prisoner service has been upgraded to include pictures.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Low Newton.

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

Contact details

Governor: Rob Young

Telephone: 0191 376 4000
Monday to Sunday, 24 hours
Fax: 0191 376 4001
Find out about call charges

Email: businesshublownewton@justice.gov.uk

Address

HMP/YOI Low Newton
Brasside
Durham
DH1 5YA

See map

Risk line

If you are concerned about the safety or wellbeing of a woman in Low Newton, call the risk line in confidence.

Risk line: 0191 376 4189
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm (answerphone available out of hours)
Find out about call charges

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

Published 21 October 2019
Last updated 6 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated physical contact guidance

  2. In-cell telephony update.

  3. Updated visiting information for newly arrived prisoners.

  4. New visiting times and booking information added.

  5. 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.

  6. visit info

  7. Updated visit info

  8. Updated visit info

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

  10. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  11. Added legal visits booking information

  12. Updated visiting times for family and friends.

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  14. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  15. Updated: Low Newton prison visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

  17. Updated governor name from Gabrielle Lee to Rob Young

  18. Updated information to include confirmation of secure video calls being available at this prison.

  19. updated survey link

  20. Prison visits update.

  21. First published.