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
HMP Standford Hill is offering visits for family and friends. Visiting times and availability may change at short notice. You should contact the prison direct for any queries.
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 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 person 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
How to book family and friends visits
You can book your visit online.
Standford Hill is currently operating a limited visits schedule for family and friends. You can book your visit by telephone.
Booking Line: 0300 060 6603
The booking line is open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm
You can also book your visit by emailing SocialVisits.StandfordHill@justice.gov.uk
- Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday : 1:45pm to 3:45pm
How to book legal and professional visits
There are currently no legal visits taking place.
Getting to Standford Hill
To plan your journey by public transport:
use National Rail Enquiries. The closest railway station is Sheerness. You can get a taxi from there and it will take about 15 minutes.
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 will be no refreshments available during your visit.
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.
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.
There will be no refreshments avaiable during your visit.
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
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.
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 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 person 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.
All safeguarding processes are overseen by Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board.
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 person who arrives 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 men. It has 3 wings made up of single rooms. 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. Men 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.
Release on temporary licence (ROTL) is the cornerstone of a resettlement plan. Each man’s 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 men 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
Support for family and friends
Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.
Support at Standford Hill
The contracted families service provider is Spurgeons.
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.
Problems and complaints
If you have a problem contact Standford Hill.
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
HMP Standford Hill
Safer custody hotline
If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Standford Hill, call the safer custody hotline.
Telephone: 0800 692 0170
Find out about call charges
Leave your name, telephone number, the reason for your call and the name and prisoner number of the man you are worried about. You should be called back within 24 hours.
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