Guidance

Low Newton Prison and Young Offender Institute

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

Book and plan your visit to Low Newton

New residents are allowed one unbooked ‘reception visit’ each day in their first 7 days at Newton Hall. Family or friends need to come to the prison visitors’ centre at one of the set visiting times and say 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. Residents 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.

It can take time for ID to be checked so you might want to arrive 30 minutes before your visit time.

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

You can book your visit online.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 303 0632
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
  • Thursday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm, 5:30pm to 6:30pm
  • Friday: 9:30am to 11:30am (family and child visits only), 1:45pm to 3:45pm
  • Saturday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
  • Sunday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm

Family days and play days

Low Newton has family days or play days on the last Friday of every month. These are held from 10:30am to 3pm.

For family days, at least one visitor must be 18 or older. For play days, children can be left for the duration of the visit (agreed in advance).

For dates and to book these visits, call the visitors centre on: 01913 764 232.

Email: hmppsvisitbooking@noms.gsi.gov.uk

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 060 6514
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Wednesday: 9:30am to 11:30am
  • Thursday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Friday: 2:15pm to 3.45pm (except the last Friday of the month when there are no professional visits)

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

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • benefit book
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • annual public transport season ticket (with photo card)
  • employer ID card (if it shows the name of the visitor and the employer)
  • European Community identity card

Visitors without the correct ID may be refused entry.

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.

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £10 in coins (notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink from the snack bar in the visits hall.

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.

It has a snack bar where you can buy light refreshments. There is a children’s play area, a youth room for children aged 8 to 18 years, and a quiet room.

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.

In the main visits hall there is a snack bar and a children’s play area.

Keeping in touch

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

Phone calls

Women do not have phones in their rooms so they will always have 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 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 resident.

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 resident, 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.

Gifts and parcels

People 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.

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 residents 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 resident 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 in all residential areas 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.

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

Education and work

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

Low Newton has family engagement workers who support women to maintain contact with their families. Ask Low Newton for more information.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Low Newton. If you can’t resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

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

Contact details

Governor: Gabrielle Lee

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

Email: businesshub.lownewton@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

Published 21 October 2019