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

Prison social visits are temporarily suspended at Low Newton following national lockdown. We will update here as soon as this changes. There may be the opportunity for visits under exceptional compassionate reasons which should be agreed in advance with the prison prior to travel.

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.

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.

Keeping in touch

There are several ways you can keep in touch with a resident 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

Women have phones in their own 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: 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

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Published 21 October 2019
Last updated 21 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. visit info

  2. Updated visit info

  3. Updated visit info

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

  5. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  6. Added legal visits booking information

  7. Updated visiting times for family and friends.

  8. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  9. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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

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

  12. Updated governor name from Gabrielle Lee to Rob Young

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

  14. updated survey link

  15. Prison visits update.

  16. First published.