Standford Hill Prison

Standford Hill is an open prison for men. It is one of 3 prisons that form the Sheppey Cluster in Kent, along with HMP Elmley and HMP Swaleside.

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Book and plan your visit to Standford Hill

To visit someone in Standford Hill you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have 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 prisoner can have. You can check this with Standford Hill.

Contact Standford Hill 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 Standford Hill
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online, by email to or by telephone.

Telephone booking line: 0330 058 8223

Find out about call charges

The booking lines are open:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Tuesday and Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Visiting times:

  • Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday : 1:45pm to 3:45pm

Booking Line: 0330 058 8223

The booking line is open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm

Legal visiting times:

  • Friday: 9am to 10am, 10 to 11am and 11 am to 11:30am

Getting to Standford Hill

Find Standford Hill on a map

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is parking by the visitors centre with Blue Badge spaces available.

Entering Standford Hill

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

Standford Hill has a family-friendly 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 are strict controls on what you can take into Standford Hill. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. Prams, pushchairs or car seats can be taken into the visiting hall along with a baby bottle with milk. Before your visit, you can get permission to bring in family photos but must take them home with you. A child can bring in their school books.

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 are currently no children’s play facilities available during your visit.

The care of children under 18 is the responsibility of the visitor so must be supervised at all times.

Family days

Family Days are not currently available.

Keep in touch with someone at Standford Hill

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

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 not have phones in their cells 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.

Men can use the phones anytime between 6am and 10pm.

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 Standford Hill using the Email a Prisoner service. You can also attach photos and the sender can pay for a reply sheet.


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 Standford Hill.

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 make an application to have items sent in to them as specified on the facilities list. They can also purchase goods from a range of catalogues and can have property handed in on visits, if the visitor applies prior to the visit.

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.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the parcel.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Life at Standford Hill

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

Security and safeguarding

Every prisoner at Standford Hill 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.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Standford Hill, their property will be listed. 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 prisoner arriving at Standford Hill gets an induction that lasts about a week. During this week, each prisoner is given a timetable where they can 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

Transitioning into open conditions can be challenging for some prisoners so all have access to Samaritans ‘Listeners’ and induction peer support workers.


Standford Hill is an open prison and holds over 450 prisoners. It has 3 wings made up of single cells. Each wing has access to telephones, communal areas with pool and snooker tables, dart boards and cooking facilities.

Education and work

The main prison focus is for prisoners to work out in the community. They do repairs or are in paid employment towards the end of their sentence.

In the prison, an education department offers a range of full and part-time learning and vocational training opportunities. Prisoners can take part in further and higher education on site, through distance learning, the local college or on day-release to universities.

Much of the employment throughout the prison involves peer advisors to encourage learning and responsibility, whenever possible.

Temporary release

Release on temporary licence (ROTL) is the cornerstone of a resettlement plan. Each prisoners needs are considered on an individual basis. They are kept fully informed of their progress and their family members have a vital role in its success.

Prisoners are eligible for ROTL on arrival at the prison. Eligibility requires risk assessment processes to be applied before any unaccompanied ROTL takes place. These processes can take up to 12 weeks to make sure each ROTL is both individually appropriate while ensuring public safety.

ROTL can be used for resettlement, day release to maintain family ties, work, training and education. Resettlement overnight release is used for getting prisoners back into the community while maintaining their family ties.

A special purpose licence can be used for compassionate family emergencies or medical reasons.

Organisations Standford Hill works with

Standford Hill works with a number of local charities including Age UK, Demelza House Hospice for Children and Fareshare which tackles hunger and food waste.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Standford Hill

Family services at Standford Hill are provided by PACT.

Contact the family service worker in the resettlement department on Wednesdays and Thursday, 10am to 11:30am. They are also available during weekday visits. If you need to speak to them, call 01795 884 777.

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 01795 884500 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 0800 6920170 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.
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 any other problem contact Standford Hill.

Inspection reports

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Standford Hill in response to independent inspections.

Contact Standford Hill

Governor: Gary Price

Telephone: 01795 884 500
Fax: 01795 884 638
Find out about call charges

Follow Standford Hill on Twitter/X


HMP Standford Hill
Church Road
ME12 4AA

See map

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Updates to this page

Published 11 March 2020
Last updated 15 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Opening hours updated for visits booking telephone line.

  2. Added legal visits booking line and time slots.

  3. Updated visits booking line number

  4. Secure video calls update.

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

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

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

  8. Updated physical contact guidance

  9. Updated social visits booking line opening times.

  10. New visiting times and booking information added.

  11. 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.

  12. visit update

  13. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

  14. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

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

  16. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  17. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  18. Updated visiting information for Standford Hill

  19. Updated visiting times

  20. added survey link

  21. Visit information update

  22. First published.

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