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.
Prison visits are temporarily suspended following instructions for people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We will update here as soon as this changes. 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:
- leave a voice message using the Prison Voicemail Service
- send them an email using the email a prisoner service
- write to them
You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003.
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 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.
You can also book by telephone.
Booking line: 0300 060 6603
Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm
Find out about call charges
- Wednesday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
- Thursday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
- Saturday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
- Sunday: 1:45pm to 3:45pm
How to book legal and professional visits
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 and older need to bring one of the following types of photo ID:
- driving licence
- benefit book
- senior citizen’s public transport pass
- annual public transport season ticket (with photo card)
- employer ID card (if it shows the name of the visitor and the employer)
- European Community identity card
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).
Each adult visitor can take up to £50 (top up on a card before entering the visiting hall) for use at the tea bar.
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.
In the visits hall, there is a play area run by volunteers with a range of toys, books, play equipment and art and craft facilities. There is an outside play garden, weather permitting, and a tea bar with food and drinks.
The care of children under 18 is the responsibility of the visitor so must be supervised at all times.
Family Days take place 6 times a year over the school holidays. Sessions run from 10am to 3pm.
Other family events, such as extended visits, baby bonding and homework clubs take place on weekends.
Events are advertised on posters throughout the prison. Men who wish to be considered for a place can apply to the Spurgeons family worker through the resettlement department.
Keep in touch with someone at Standford Hill
There are several ways you can keep in touch with a resident during their time at Standford Hill.
Residents 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 also send:
- postal orders
Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to either ‘The Governor’ or ‘HMP Standford Hill’. Include the man’s name and his prisoner number on the back.
Gifts and parcels
Residents 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. Contact Standford Hill for more information.
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.
All safeguarding processes are overseen by Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board.
Arrival and first night
When a resident 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 resident 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 residents 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 residents 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.
Residents 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. If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.
HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Standford Hill in response to independent inspections.
Contact Standford Hill
Governor: Dawn Mauldon
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.