Ranby Prison

Ranby is a men’s prison in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

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Book and plan your visit to Ranby

Ranby prison is at stage 3 in the National Framework for Prisons. We are now preparing to open for visits and we will update this page with specific visiting information as soon as possible.

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 Ranby

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

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 have phones in their rooms for outgoing calls 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. If a resident has listed you as a contact, prison staff may call you to confirm you consent to being contacted.

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 Ranby 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 Ranby.


You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope, and your name and address on the back.

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

Photographs sent from home must have a return address on the envelope. You can also send photos from picture print companies.

All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers. It will also be screened for drugs.

Send money and gifts

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.

You can also send:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to “The Governor” and include the resident’s name and prisoner number, and the sender’s name and address, on the back. Also include your name and address when sending cash.

You cannot give money to a resident during a visit.

Gifts and parcels

No parcels can be sent in by post or handed in on visits.

The only exceptions to this are:

  • parcels for life sentenced prisoners
  • clothing needed to attend funerals and court

These are approved by application on an individual basis. Other exceptional circumstances may also be considered.

Contact Ranby for more information on what’s allowed.

Prisoners can buy personal items from approved catalogues rather than arranging for them to be sent in.

Life at Ranby

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

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Ranby, 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 Ranby gets an induction on a specialised wing 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.


New arrivals to Ranby prison are held in a seperate area of the prison for the first 14 days.

Around 1050 men live at Ranby in a mixture of single and double rooms across 7 house blocks.

House block 1 is the induction unit and house block 2 is where support is offered for men with substance misuse issues.

There is a healthcare centre, library, sports facilities and gym.

There are multi-faith chaplaincy services.

Education and work

Ranby offers a range of educational courses, work in farms and gardens and workshops, employment courses and offending behaviour courses. Coronavirus restrictions mean that the prison is not being run off wings.

Reading, writing and language support is provided in work areas and on residential wings.

There are over 90 different accredited qualifications available from entry level to Masters degree and above.

Vocational training programmes available include:

  • textiles
  • engineering and powder coat
  • joinery
  • industrial cleaning
  • painting and decorating
  • catering
  • fork lift truck driving
  • health and safety card
  • construction
  • mentoring

Work opportunities include:

  • IT
  • laundry
  • waste management and recycling
  • pallet furniture
  • packing
  • plastic injection
  • gardens
  • wood mill
  • white goods and furniture repair
  • CD/DVD recycling

Ranby’s resettlement team helps residents with education, training, employment and accommodation on their release. It has links with training and employment providers locally and regionally. It provides pre-release courses on writing CVs, letters and application forms and interview techniques. They also offer advice on debt management in and out of prison, applying for benefits, and being a father inside prison.

Temporary release

Some residents may be eligible for release on temporary license (ROTL). This is based on a thorough risk assessment.

Organisations Ranby works with

Ranby works closely with the probation services, Nottinghamshire healthcare, Barnado’s, Shelter, We Are With You and others to support the needs of residents and their families during their time in custody and after release.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

You can read more about what Ranby is doing to support the family and friends of their residents in their family and significant others strategy.

Support at Ranby

Barnardo’s provide support, advice and help for children and families of a person in prison at Ranby. They are available in the visitors centre before and after social visits.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Ranby

Governor: Nigel Hirst

Telephone (24 hours): 01777 862 000
Fax: 01777 862 001
Find out about call charges

Follow Ranby on Twitter


HMP Ranby
DN22 8EU

See map

Safer custody hotline

If at any point you have concerns about the welfare or safety of a prisoner then please contact the Safer Custody hotline on 01777 862342, please be aware that this is an answerphone service where you can leave a message and a member of staff will pick this up.

If you are worried about an immediate risk, call the main switchboard on 01777 862 000 and ask to speak to the orderly officer.

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

Published 21 April 2020
Last updated 30 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. 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.

  2. visits update

  3. Updated visit info

  4. Updated prison info

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

  6. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  7. Updated information about secure video calls.

  8. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  9. added survey link

  10. Updated safer custody number

  11. First published.