Pentonville Prison

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

Applies to England and Wales

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Book and plan your visit to Pentonville

To visit someone in Pentonville you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit at least 24 hours in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

Up to 3 visitors over the age of 12 are allowed at a time, plus children under 12. 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 Pentonville.

Contact Pentonville 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 Pentonville
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit by telephone.

Telephone booking line: 0300 060 6504
Find out about call charges

The booking line is open:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 1:45pm to 2:40pm and 3:20pm to 4:15pm
  • Tuesday: 1:45pm to 2:40pm and 3:20pm to 4:15pm
  • Wednesday: 1:45pm to 2:40pm and 3:20pm to 4:15pm
  • Thursday: 1:45pm to 2:40pm and 3:20pm to 4:15pm
  • Friday: 1:45pm to 2:40pm and 3:20pm to 4:15pm
  • Saturday: 10:30am to 11:30am and 3pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: Enhanced Visit only 2:30pm to 4:30pm (in-house booking only by prisoner)

You will not be admitted if you are more than half an hour late.

Visits are provided on a wing basis within a 6 week cycle. The new cycles are published on the wings for prisoners attention and shared with the booking line.

You can book a legal or professional visit by emailing

Visiting times:

  • Face-to-face visits: Monday to Friday 9am to 11am
  • Video link legal visits: 1 hour slots from 9am to 4pm. Please note there is a staff break between 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Getting to Pentonville

Find Pentonville on a map

Pentonville is a 5-minute walk from Caledonian Road underground station or Caledonian Road and Barnsbury overground station. The closest mainline railway station is London King’s Cross. Several local bus routes pass the prison such as Bus 17, 91, 259 and 274.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is no visitor parking at the prison and local roads are restricted to permit holders.

Entering Pentonville

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.

Children under 16 should bring their full birth certificate.

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Pentonville has a strict dress code policy which means visitors should dress appropriately. You will be turned away if you are wearing items such as hoodies, vests, low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses, ripped jeans, flip-flops or headwear other than for religious reasons. Additionally, you cannot wear anything with offensive patterns or slogans, football shirts, steel toe-capped boots or motorcycle boots. You will need to remove coats, hats, gloves, metal accessories, sunglasses, and smart watches before you go in. Ask in the visitors’ centre if you have questions about the dress code.

There will be refreshments available during your visit. You will have to pay for your choice at the Visitors Centre where you will be given a token to present at the tea bar.

You are only allowed to take into the prison the following items:

  • Your proof of identification
  • Your token for refreshment
  • Feeding bottle for baby
  • A signed disclaimer form

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. Trafficking in unauthorised items is prohibited. If there is any suspicion or you are caught, this will lead to a minimum ban of 3 months and the prisoner will be placed on closed visits for the same period.

Visiting facilities

There is a visitors centre run by the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) charity. Family and friends can relax and get advice and support from the staff.

It is open Monday to Saturday from 8:30am to 4:30pm and on Sunday from 12:30pm to 4:30pm.

Telephone: 020 7700 0912
Find out about call charges

There are lockers in the visitors centre to store your belongings. These take tokens which you can get for £1 from the visitors centre staff.

Family days

Family days are now running, and it is only applicable to those prisoners on Enhance IEP levels. Family days are delivered on each wing’s Sunday enhanced visit day on a rota basis. Enhance IEP prisoners are given the opportunity to apply for it when it is their wing’s session.

Keep in touch with someone at Pentonville

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

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

Phone calls

Prisoners do have phones in their cells so they can always call at their own convenience. They need 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 prisoner, 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.

HMP/YOI Pentonville Caledonian Road London N7 8TT

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

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.

Prisoners are allowed one parcel every 6 months.

Family and friends can hand books in for prisoners at the visitors centre before any visit, 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.

Prisoners 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 prisoners 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.

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

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

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner 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 1,300 prisoners live at Pentonville in a mixture of single and shared cells across 7 wings.

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

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

Education and work

Prisoners have access to education and training provided by Novus.

All prisoners 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 prisoners. 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 prisoners 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

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 02070 237 000 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 020 7023 7341 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.
Health concerns 0117 240 1193 If you have a health concern about someone in HMP Pentonville, call the Prisoner Health Information and Liaison Line (Call PHILL) to speak to the health team confidentially.
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 a problem contact Pentonville.

Inspection reports

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

Help us to improve this page. Give us your feedback in this 2-minute survey.

Published 7 April 2020
Last updated 14 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Opening hours updated for visits booking telephone line.

  2. Secure video calls update.

  3. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

  4. Added link to new safer custody information under Security and safeguarding.

  5. Updated visiting information: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

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

  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. visits update

  10. Updated visit info

  11. Updated visit info

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

  13. Covid update

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

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

  16. added survey link

  17. First published.