Swaleside Prison

Swaleside is a men’s high security prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. It is part of the Sheppey Cluster, along with Elmley and Standford Hill.

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

Book and plan your visit to Swaleside

Prison social visits are temporarily suspended at Swaleside following national lockdown. We will update here as soon as this changes. There may be the opportunity for visits under exceptional compassionate reasons which should be agreed in advance with the prison prior to travel.

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 Swaleside

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

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 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.

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 Swaleside 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 Swaleside.


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 Swaleside.

All post, apart from legal letters, will be opened and checked by officers.

Swaleside is currently operating a limited professional visits schedule. You can book your visit by telephone. There is no online booking service available. Booking line: 0300 060 6604 Booking line open: Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm

Find out about call charges

Visiting times: Tuesday to Thursday, 2pm-4pm

You will be given a at least a full hour once inside the visits booths.

Send money and gifts

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

Gifts and parcels

Residents can apply for permission to receive items from friends and family. The items can then be handed in at the property desk in the visitors centre.

There are limits to the number of items a resident can receive. You can check this with the visitors centre.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

It’s not possible to send items or property by post. You can send residents money instead which they can use to buy items through a catalogue system.

Life at Swaleside

Swaleside is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men convicted of serious offences can make positive use of long sentences.

Security and safeguarding

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

All safeguarding processes are overseen by the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Swaleside, 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 Swaleside gets an induction 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.


Around 1100 men live at Swaleside across 8 wings. Most men get their own rooms.

Education and work

Residents have access to a broad programme of learning opportunities provided by Amersham and Wickham College. These range from basic skills, such as English and maths, to distance learning with the Open University. Swaleside is part of the Prisons ICT Academy (PICTA) which helps prepare prisoners for work in information and communications technology (ICT) roles.

Work is available throughout the prison in areas such as industrial cleaning and engineering. Residents are also employed by several industrial workshops through contracts with outside businesses.

Swaleside also runs a number of accredited offending behaviour programmes and non-accredited courses for personal and social development.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Swaleside

The Spurgeons family services team provides a range of information, guidance and support to families and friends of residents. Ask in the visitors centre for more information.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Swaleside. 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 Swaleside in response to independent inspections.

Contact Swaleside

Governor: Mark Icke

Telephone: 01795 804 100
Fax: 01795 804 200
Find out about call charges

Follow Swaleside on Twitter


HMP Swaleside
Brabazon Road
Isle of Sheppey
ME12 4AX

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Swaleside, call the safer custody hotline. The hotline is available to friends or relatives to report concerns or information about a prisoner that they feel may lead to him being at risk.This hotline is an answerphone facility only and callers will be advised that the prison will be unable to return their calls. Leave as much information as possible and a contact number. Messages are checked regularly throughout the day.

Telephone: 01795 804 295
Find out about call charges

In an emergency, call the main telephone number and ask to speak to the orderly officer.

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

Published 19 May 2020
Last updated 21 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. visits update

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

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

  4. Updated professional visits details

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

  6. Updated visiting times and visiting procedure changes in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  7. First published.