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

Reception Visits

One Reception visit is permitted within the first 14 days of being taken into custody and will last a minimum of 30 minutes. The 14 days will start the day after arriving in custody.

A maximum of 3 adult visitors and no limit on children can attend a reception visit. Please note that a child is classed as anyone under the age of 18.

These visits do not need to be booked but they can only take place within the normal times of social visits. On arrival, visitors will need to go straight to the visitor centre and advise NEPACS staff that they are here for a reception visit.

Relevant checks need to be carried out on the visitors arrival to determine if the visit can go ahead. Visitors can wait in the visitors centre while the checks take place. NEPACS staff and volunteers are available to help. Visitors will be advised if the visit has been approved.

Visitors attending for a reception visit may bring a reception parcel to the visit. This parcel is limited to clothing and footwear. A full list of items that can be bought in are on the NEPACS website or will be listed on the Low Newton prison guide on the Gov.UK website.

NEPACS staff will check the parcels and items not on this list will not be allowed in and will be returned to the visitor.

All visitors must have the correct form of ID. Visitors will not be allowed to attend the visit if the correct ID is not presented prior to the visit.

To visit someone in Low Newton prison you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit between 2 weeks and 48 hours in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

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

are to arrive at the visitors’ centre for PM visits no earlier than 1 hour prior to the start of the visit, any late arrivals may be refused entry.

Refreshments are available in the main visits hall only. Visitors may take in £20 per adult to spend. Change is available at the visitors’ centre.

One clear baby bottle plus 1 unopened carton of baby milk or 1 clear bottle of breast milk will be permitted for babies along with changing materials.

Play areas are available for children under 16 in both Visitors Centre and the main visits hall.

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 or by telephone.

Telephone booking line: 0300 303 0632
Booking line opening times:

  • Monday: 12pm to 5pm
  • Tuesday: 9am to 5pm
  • Wednesday: 12pm to 5pm
  • Thursday: 9am to 5pm
  • Friday: 12pm to 5pm

Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
  • Thursday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
  • Saturday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
  • Sunday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm

Visitors are advised not to arrive to the prison until 1 hour before the visit start time.

Prisoners that haven’t been convicted may have 2 weekday visits and 1 weekend visit as per our current visit schedule.

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

Booking line opening times:

  • Monday: 12pm to 5pm
  • Tuesday: 9am to 5pm
  • Wednesday: 12pm to 5pm
  • Thursday: 9am to 5pm
  • Friday: 12pm to 5pm

Find out about call charges

You can also book online.

We can offer Video Legal Visits which can be booked by emailing the following email address:

These are subject to availability of video conferencing rooms.

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 2:15pm to 4:15pm
  • Thursday: 2:15pm to 4:15pm

Getting to Low Newton

Find Low Newton on a map

Bus: Buses run from North Road in Durham (0.5 miles from the station). No. 62 runs twice hourly and No 64 runs every 10 minutes to Rothbury Road (on Newton Hall Estate) which is a 10 min walk to the establishment.

Train: Durham City is the nearest station. It’s a 10-15 minute walk to the bus stop, or taxis operate from both the station and bus stop.

Car: From the north or south take the A1 (M) to the A167 Chester le Street slip road. On the roundabout below the A1 take the exit posted A167 Durham (from the North it is the 3rd exit from the South it is the first). Coming the second roundabout, follow the A167 Durham Sign, going straight on. There is a large BP garage on the right. You come to another roundabout, go straight ahead, following signpost A167 Durham. Go on to another roundabout, go straight ahead, A167 Durham. You will go under a railway bridge, carry straight on the dual carriageway, straight through the two new roundabouts at Chester Moor and the Red Lion. At the next big roundabout, take the first left signposted Arnison Centre, Newton Hall, Finchale Priory. Carry on past McDonalds, Sainsburys etc. on your right. At the next roundabout go straight across, signposted Newton Hall, Brasside, Finchale Priory. Continue a short distance to another roundabout, (housing estate on the right, Newton Grange pub/hotel on your left). Turn left signposted Newton Hall, Brasside, Finchale Priory. Go on down the hill, under the railway bridge. Take the first right for Low Newton prison.

There is a visitor’s car park at the front of the prison but parking is limited during the week.

To plan your journey by public transport:

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.

You can purchase refreshments 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.

There is a tea bar facility Visits are limited to 12 prisoners per Social Visit session, 3 Official/Legal visits, up to 3 closed visits. 3 adults per prisoner, for more than 3 child visitors required, Family Services may contact the prison for approval. Toilet facilities are available.

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.

Family days

The Family Days and Child Parent days have resumed. Approval to attend can be gained by the prisoner through application to the Offender Management Unit (OMU) team managing this service.

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

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

Secure video calls at this prison can be requested by prisoners only.

You will receive a notification if a prisoner has requested a video call with you.

Read more about how it works

Slots available:

  • Monday: Evening slots
  • Tuesday: Mornings and Evenings
  • Wednesday: Mornings and Evenings
  • Thursday: Mornings and Evenings
  • Saturday: Mornings
  • Sunday: No video calls

Visits are subject to availability, registering via the APP and approval of approved ID. All visitors should be linked with contacts if wishing to be on the same video call.

Phone calls

All cells at Low Newton now have telephones. Prisoners have phones in their own cells 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. Prisoners may make calls totalling 90 minutes in one 24 hour period.

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 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.


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 1 Jan to 31 Dec)
  • 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 prisoners 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.

For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website.

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.

1 x reception visit allowed within the first 7 days without prior booking.

Remand Prisoners – can book visits subject to availability.

Sentenced and convicted prisoners can book visits subject to visiting orders and space availability. Priviledge visiting orders cannot be used at the weekends.

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.


Regular induction has been re-introduced to HMP Low Newton. This takes place over the first 2 weeks of custody. Initial induction wing familiarisation is in place for all new arrivals.

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.


Around 340 prisoners 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 NOVUS, providing classroom based functional and vocational skills. Distance learning is still available. Wamitab (cleaning), CRED and Enterprise (sewing) work parties are now running.

Gym sessions for prisoners available. Kitchen, Horticulture and Recycling work available offering qualifications. Shannon Trust peer to peer learning to read available.

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

Prisoners 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.

Prisoners also 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 prisoners and staff choose their own time and pace to learn.

Temporary release

Prisoners 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 prisoners 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 prisoners 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.

To contact the family and significant other prison lead please email FamilySupportServices.Low and provide return contact information.

Support at Low Newton

NEPACS provide our Visitor Centre service.

Contact info: 0800 012 1539.

Further information can be found at

Twitter direct messaging service (DM) available – responses within 24 hours. Twitter notifications updated with key news points and good news. You can follow the account at @HMPLowNewton.

Email a prisoner service has been upgraded to include pictures.

Safer Custody

If you think the prisoner is at immediate risk please call the switchboard on 0191 376 4000 and ask for the Orderly Officer and explain that your concern is an emergency.

If your concern is urgent but not life-threatening, please call the Safer Custody Helpline on 0191 376 4189 or contact the prison Safer Custody team using the web form (the team will pick up all contact forms within 72 hours).

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 0191 376 4000 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 0191 376 4189 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 or contact by phone.

Problems and complaints

If you have any other problem contact Low Newton.

Inspection reports

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

Contact details

Governor: Guy Pidduck

Telephone: 0191 376 4000
Monday to Sunday, 24 hours (switchboard) Find out about call charges



HMP/YOI Low Newton

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Updates to this page

Published 21 October 2019
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: Visits temporarily suspended

  4. Updated physical contact guidance

  5. In-cell telephony update.

  6. Updated visiting information for newly arrived prisoners.

  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. visit info

  10. Updated visit info

  11. Updated visit info

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

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  14. Added legal visits booking information

  15. Updated visiting times for family and friends.

  16. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  17. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

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

  20. Updated governor name from Gabrielle Lee to Rob Young

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

  22. updated survey link

  23. Prison visits update.

  24. First published.

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