Manchester Prison

Manchester Prison is a men’s high security prison in Manchester city centre. It was known as Strangeways until 1994.

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Book and plan your visit to Manchester prison

January 2022 update

Manchester prison is now offering visits for family, friends and significant others.

Visitors aged 12 and over need to take a lateral flow device test (LFD) before coming for their visit. 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.

To visit someone in Manchester Prison you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit between 2 weeks and 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 person can have. You can check this with Manchester Prison.

Contact Manchester Prison if you have any 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 Manchester Prison
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book a reception visit by calling the prison. These visits can take place during a prisoner’s first few weeks in Manchester Prison at the times shown below.

Reception visits booking line: 0161 817 5655
Monday to Thirsday 8am to 4pm, and Friday 8am to 12pm
Find out about call charges

All other visits must be booked by the prisoner, who will need to inform you of the details.

There are different visiting times for prisoners restricted to closed visits (where they are kept separate from the visitors).

General visiting times:

  • Monday to Thursday: 2pm to 3pm and 3:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Saturday: 9am to 10am, 10:30am to 11:30am, 2pm to 3pm, and 3:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Sunday: 2pm to 3pm and 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Closed visiting times:

  • Please call the booking line for up to date information

You should aim to arrive 45 minutes before the start of your visit. You may not be admitted if you arrive late.

Legal visits must be booked by telephone.

Booking line: 0161 817 5656
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times are Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 10:30am and 10:30am to 11:30am.

Getting to Manchester Prison

Find Manchester Prison on a map

The closest railway station is Manchester Victoria, which is about a 5-minute walk from the prison. Manchester Piccadilly is 10 minutes from Manchester Victoria by tram or taxi.

Several local buses pass close to the prison.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is no parking at the prison but there are several public car parks in the city centre.

Entering Manchester Prison

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.

Manchester Prison has a family-friendly dress code which means visitors should dress appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like low-cut tops, see-through or revealing clothing, or ripped jeans. Additionally, you cannot wear football shirts, uniforms (except school uniforms) or anything with offensive patterns or slogans. Ask in the visitors centre if you have questions about the dress code.

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £20 in coins (notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink in the visiting hall.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Manchester Prison. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker (you will need a £1 coin) or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

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

There is a visitors centre run by Partners of Prisoners (POPS). Family and friends can relax, buy refreshments and get advice and support from the staff. There is a play area for children.

The centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5pm, Saturday from 8am to 5pm and Sunday from midday to 5pm.

Telephone: 0161 817 5630
Find out about call charges

Family visits

There are no family days currently being run.

Keep in touch with someone at Manchester Prison

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

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

Prisoners have phones in their rooms which they can use between 8am and 10pm.

The phones do not accept incoming calls so prisoners 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 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.


You can send emails to someone in Manchester Prison 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 Manchester Prison.


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 Manchester Prison.

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

You can no longer send gifts or parcels via the visitor’s centre. We can only accept gifts or parcels from family members via the Birthday Parcel process.

It’s not possible to send items or property by post. You can send prisoners money instead which they can use to buy items through a catalogue system.

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.

Life at Manchester Prison

Manchester Prison is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men convicted of serious offences can make positive use of long sentences.

Security and safeguarding

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

All safeguarding processes are overseen by the Manchester Safeguarding Partnership.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Manchester Prison, 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.


Each person who arrives at Manchester Prison 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, training and independent career advice
  • 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 750 men live at Manchester Prison in a mixture of single and shared rooms. They are split across 9 wings in 2 blocks.

There is a sports hall and several gyms offering a range of activities for prisoners of all physical abilities.

Manchester Prison has a diverse, multi-faith chaplaincy team providing support to prisoners.

Education and work

Prisoners have access to education and training provided by Milton Keynes College. Classes include:

  • skills for life
  • IT
  • English for speakers of other languages
  • numeracy
  • wellbeing
  • art therapy
  • business

Vocational training courses include industrial cleaning, baking, catering warehousing and waste management.

Work is available in the textiles, printing and laundry workshops, as well as throughout the prison. All areas offer the chance to earn qualifications at the same time.

Manchester Prison also runs a number of accredited offending behaviour programmes.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Manchester Prison. If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

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

Contact Manchester Prison

Governor: Rob Knight

Telephone: 0161 817 5600
Fax: 0161 817 5601
Find out about call charges

Follow Manchester Prison on Twitter


HMP Manchester
1 Southall Street
M60 9AH

See map

Sharing concerns helpline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Manchester Prison, call the sharing concerns helpline. This is an answerphone service that is checked frequently. Leave as much information as possible and a telephone number for staff to call you back.

Telephone: 0161 817 5958
Find out about call charges

In an emergency, call 0161 817 5927.

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Published 5 May 2020
Last updated 10 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated visiting information: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

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

  3. New visiting times and booking information added.

  4. Additional guidance about new COVID-19 variant in the Bolton and Blackburn areas.

  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 update

  7. Updated prison info

  8. Updated visit info

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

  10. Updated information about secure video calls.

  11. First published.