Pentonville Prison

Pentonville is a men’s prison and young offender institution in the London Borough of Islington, North London.

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Book and plan your visit to Pentonville

Prison social visits are temporarily suspended at Pentonville 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.

Keep in touch with someone at Pentonville

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

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

Residents 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 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 Pentonville 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 Pentonville.


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 Pentonville.

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

When a person first arrives at Pentonville they are given a parcel label and delivery form. These can be used by a family member or friend to send a parcel into the prison. The delivery form describes what items are allowed and how to correctly label the parcel. There is a maximum weight limit of 15kg.

Residents are allowed one parcel every 6 months.

In addition to this, family and friends can hand books in for residents at the visitors centre before any visit.

Residents on the ‘enhanced’ behaviour level can also apply for a family member or friend to send them a games console and games.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Contact Pentonville for more information on sending parcels.

Life at Pentonville

Pentonville is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Pentonville 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 Islington Safeguarding Adults Board.

Pentonville also trains residents to be ‘listeners’ to help support other residents going through difficult times.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Pentonville, 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 see a medical professional to address any immediate health and wellbeing needs.


Each person who arrives at Pentonville gets an induction that lasts 4 days. 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 1300 men live at Pentonville in a mixture of single and shared rooms across 7 wings.

There are 4 gym areas offering a range of activities for residents of all physical abilities.

Pentonville runs a multi-faith chaplaincy service which offers religious services and teaching to all residents, whatever their faith. They also provide counselling and support to residents.

Education and work

Residents have access to education and training provided by Novus.

All residents are offered help improving their literacy, numeracy and language skills and can study for qualifications in a broad range of work-related subjects, including:

  • business
  • information and communications technology (ICT)
  • journalism
  • health and safety
  • painting and decorating
  • carpentry
  • industrial cleaning
  • barbering
  • radio production
  • customer services
  • food safety

Pentonville runs 2 workshops providing employment for residents. The textiles workshop produces bedding for prisons and the recycling workshop recycles waste from within the prison. There are also many roles available throughout Pentonville, including cleaning, orderly duties, catering and barbering.

Organisations Pentonville works with

Pentonville works with Catch 22, a not-for-profit business, to help residents with gang involvement and related issues.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Pentonville

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) and Phoenix Futures provide individual support with a range of issues including family estrangement, child contact and social services.

To get help with a family issue, email

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Pentonville. 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 Pentonville in response to independent inspections.

Contact Pentonville

Governor: Ian Blakeman

Telephone: 020 7023 7000
Fax: 020 7023 7001
Find out about call charges


HMP/YOI Pentonville
Caledonian Road
N7 8TT

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Pentonville, call the safer custody hotline. If you get an answer machine, leave as much information as possible and a telephone number for staff to call you back. You will receive a response within 24 hours.

Telephone: 020 7023 7341
Find out about call charges

You can also send an email to:

In an emergency, call the main prison telephone number and ask to speak to the orderly officer or duty governor.

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Published 7 April 2020
Last updated 21 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. visits update

  2. Updated visit info

  3. Updated visit info

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

  5. Covid update

  6. Updated visiting times and visiting procedure changes in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  7. Added confirmation of secure video calls being made available at this prison.

  8. added survey link

  9. First published.