Ranby Prison

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

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Book and plan your visit to Ranby

Now that regular COVID testing of people in the wider community has ended, you are no longer required to take a COVID test before coming to see someone for a visit, although we would still encourage you to do so.

We will continue to run social visits whilst it is safe to do so.

Visiting rules may change if there is an outbreak within the prison, this may include bringing back testing before visits for a short time to protect you, the person you are visiting and staff.

If you are unable to visit someone in prison you can still keep in touch.

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 Ranby you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit at least 48 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 is a quiet visits area available for anyone who has difficulties coping with crowds or noise or anyone with a hearing difficulty. You can request a table in this area when you book your visit.

There may be a limit to the number of visits a person can have. You can check this with Ranby.

Contact Ranby 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 Ranby
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

Ranby 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 online.

You can book your visit by telephone.

You can also register to use the secure video calls service.

Booking line: 01777 862 107
The booking line is open:

  • Monday to Thursday, 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm
  • Friday: 9am to 12pm

Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Friday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 11am and 2pm to 4pm

To book a face to face legal visit please email:

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 2pm to 4pm

Getting to Ranby

Find Ranby on a map

The closest railway station is Retford, around 3 miles from Ranby. From there you can take a bus or taxi.

To plan your journey by public transport:

If coming by car, use the postcode DN22 8EU for sat nav.

There is parking available onsite for visitors. There is an overspill car park available at the learning centre across the road from the prison. Disabled parking is available directly outside the main prison entrance.

Entering Ranby

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 adult visitors will have their fingerprints and picture taken as part of a security check.

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

Ranby has a strict dress code policy, which means visitors should wear smart clothes (no vests, no low-cut tops, no shorts, no short dresses and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons).

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Ranby. 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.

If you are bringing small children for your visit you are allowed to take in:

  • one empty bottle or drinking cup
  • one sealed carton of milk (no powder)
  • one bottle of breast milk (Ranby can also support breastfeeding mothers)
  • sealed jars of baby food

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 prison staff and Barnardo’s. There are refreshments available to purchase at the canteen. You are permitted to bring in cash (coins only).

Men at Ranby can apply for extended visits. These are run on a monthly basis.

During the summer months there is an outside visits area available. Access to this area is restricted based on individual behaviour and security risks.

Family days

There are no family days currently running.

Keep in touch with someone at Ranby

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

Secure video calls

Secure video calling is available at this prison. Family and friends will need to download the Prison Video 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 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 prisoner 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 prisoner, 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 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

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.

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

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner 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 prisoners 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 prisoners 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 prisoners 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 prisoners 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.

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 1 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

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

  3. Updated visiting information: Reduced visit schedule and testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

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

  5. Corrected visits booking line number.

  6. Updated visits booking line number

  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 prison info

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

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  14. Updated information about secure video calls.

  15. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  16. added survey link

  17. Updated safer custody number

  18. First published.