Guidance

Portland Prison and Young Offender Institution

Portland is a prison and young offender institution (YOI) on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, for men aged 18 and over.

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Book and plan your visit to Portland

Portland prison is now offering visits for family, friends and significant others, in line with stage 3 of the National Framework for Prisons.

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 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 Portland you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit at least 2 working days in advance
  • have the 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 Portland.

Contact Portland 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 Portland
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

Portland is running a limited visits schedule. Visits are also happening differently than normal, observing strict guidelines, which must be followed.

You can book your visit by telephone. There is no online booking service available.

Booking line: 01305 715 775
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 12pm and 1:30pm to 3pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday: 2pm to 3pm and 3:30pm to 4:30pm

There are currently no legal visits taking place.

Getting to Portland

Find Portland on a map

The closest railway station is Weymouth. From there, you can take a bus to the Isle of Portland. There is also a taxi rank at the station.

To plan your journey by public transport:

Portland has a visitors car park, including several spaces for Blue Badge holders.

Entering Portland

All visitors must bring the required ID.

Children under 16 should have their birth certificate, or red book for babies who haven’t been registered yet.

Adults should have either one of the following documents:

  • valid passport
  • driving licence (with photo)
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • employer ID card (with photo)

Or 2 of the following documents:

  • trade union or student union membership card
  • proof of age card
  • rail card (with photo)
  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • library card (with signature)
  • credit or debit card
  • cheque book
  • utility bill
  • letter from the council or job centre

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

Portland has a strict dress code policy which means visitors should dress sensibly. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like vests, low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses.

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Portland. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

You will be told the rules by an officer at the start of your visit. Abusive or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated and anyone who appears under the influence of drink or drugs will be turned away. 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 at Portland which has toilets and a baby changing area. It opens at 12:30pm on visiting days.

The play area and vending machines will not be available to use during your visit.

Family days

There are currently no family days being run.

Keep in touch with someone at Portland

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

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 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 make calls in the evening on weekdays and during the day on weekends.

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.

Email

You can send emails to someone in Portland 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 Portland.

Letters

Include the person’s name and prison number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prison number, contact Portland.

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

Prisoners can buy products from a list of approved items through their prison accounts.

Friends and families 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 Portland

Portland 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 Portland has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Dorset Safeguarding Adults Board.

The Samaritans also train prisoners be ‘listeners’ to help support other prisoners going through difficult times.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Portland, 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.

Induction

Each person who arrives at Portland 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 500 men live at Portland across 7 units. There is a mixture of single and double rooms. Each room has a kettle, TV and a lockable cabinet. Rooms in the Beaufort unit have their own showers.

Education and work

Every prisoner studies essential skills such as maths and English, giving them a foundation to move on to study for professional qualifications.

Prisoners can train and earn qualifications in professions such as bricklaying, painting and decorating, carpentry and joinery, horticulture, and gym instruction.

Release on temporary licence

Portland prisoners have the opportunity to leave the prison for short periods of time. This is known as release on temporary licence. It can be used to gain work experience in the local community and prepare for release.

Organisations Portland works with

Portland works with Catch 22, a not-for-profit business, to help prisoners prepare for their release. They provide support with things like housing, employment, finance and relationships.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Portland

Barnado’s Family Pathway Programme offers help and support to families of Portland prisoners and works to strengthen family relationships.

More information is available from the visitors centre.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Portland

Governor: Rob Luxford

Telephone (24 hours): 01305 715 600
Fax: 01305 715 601
Find out about call charges

Follow Portland on Twitter

Address

HMP/YOI Portland
104 The Grove
Easton
Portland
Dorset
DT5 1DL

See map

Safety concerns

Call the 24 hour answerphone if you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Portland. Leave as much information as possible and a telephone number for staff to call you back.

Telephone: 01305 715 666
Find out about call charges

You can also email Portland’s Independent Monitoring Board if you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Portland.

Email: chairandmembers@imbportland.cjsm.net

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

Published 21 October 2019
Last updated 21 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. New visiting times and booking information added.

  2. 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.

  3. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions

  4. Updated visit info

  5. Updated visit info

  6. Updated governor name.

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

  8. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  9. Updated survey link

  10. Updated visiting information

  11. updated tel no

  12. First published.