Wetherby is a young offender institution (YOI) in Yorkshire for boys and young men aged 15 to 18.
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
- 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
You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003.
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Book and plan your visit to Wetherby
To visit someone in Wetherby you must:
- be on that person’s visitor list
- book your visit at least 2 working days in advance
- have the the required ID with you when you go
At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit. Up to 3 people aged 12 or older, plus 3 children under 12, can visit at once.
Visits last up to 2 hours.
If the young person is on remand they can have 1 weekday visit and 1 weekend visit a week.
If the young person has been convicted (they have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing) they can have 3 visits a month.
Contact Wetherby 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:
- somewhere to stay overnight
How to book family and friends visits
You can book your visit online.
You can also book by email or telephone.
- Wednesday: 6:30pm to 8pm
- Saturday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2:30pm to 4:30pm
- Sunday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2:30pm to 4:30pm
How to book legal and professional visits
These visits must be booked at least 48 hours in advance of the visiting time.
- Monday to Thursday: 2pm to 3pm, 3.15pm to 4.15pm
Getting to Wetherby
The closest railway stations are Leeds and York, where you can catch local buses to Wetherby town centre. Wetherby YOI is a 15 minute walk from the town, or you can take a taxi.
To plan your journey by public transport:
There is a visitors car park at Wetherby, including spaces for Blue Badge holders.
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.
Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £10 in coins (notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink from the vending machine in the visiting hall.
You can use a locker for any personal items that are not allowed into the visiting area. You’ll need to bring a £1 coin if you want to use a locker.
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.
Family days give young people a chance to spend time with their family.
The young person will need to apply for a family day. If the application is successful you can have a longer visit with them at Wetherby and meet the staff who care for them.
Family days usually happen every 2 months on a Tuesday from 8am to 12 midday.
Keep in touch with someone at Wetherby
You may not be able to speak to someone at Wetherby during their first few days. This is because it can take time to approve who they can contact by phone.
Young people have phones in their rooms and they will always need to call you rather than you call them. However, as a parent or carer you will be given a phone number for your young person’s caseworker (during the first week) so that you can contact them if you have concerns.
Every person arriving at Wetherby is given £2 credit for telephone calls.
A person in Wetherby can only phone you if you are named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security.
Young people have a phone in their rooms and are most likely to call you during their free time (‘association time’) from 6:30pm to 8pm.
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 Wetherby 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 Wetherby.
Include the person’s name and prison number on the envelope.
If you do not know their prison number, contact Wetherby.
All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers.
Young people in Wetherby can post 2 letters a week for free. They will need to buy stamps if they want to post more than 2 letters.
Family and friends can also post extra stamps to their young person.
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 ‘The Governor’ and include the young person’s name and prison number on the back.
Gifts and parcels
Each young person is given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts.
Approved items might include:
- clothing (no logos of sports teams, hoods)
- footwear (no air pockets in the sole)
- sealed CDs and DVDs
Contact Wetherby for more information on the gifts that are allowed.
All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.
Life at Wetherby
Wetherby is committed to providing a safe, decent and educational environment where young people are encouraged and cared for by professional staff.
Security and safeguarding
Every young person at Wetherby has a right to feel safe. The staff at Wetherby are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.
All safeguarding processes are overseen by Leeds City Council’s safeguarding children board.
Wetherby has written policies and procedures explaining how it meets all safeguarding requirements, including:
- reception of the young person
- investigating and resolving cases of bullying
- child protection concerns
- healthcare and substance misuse
- letting the young person have contact with their family and friends
You can contact the safeguarding team to discuss the procedures or get copies of the policies.
All investigations into child protection incidents are carried out by Leeds City Council.
Arrival and first night
Every young person who comes to Wetherby is searched for things they are not allowed, such as tobacco or mobile phones.
They will be able to contact a family members by phone - usually the person on record as their ‘next of kin’. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.
The young person will be given:
- clothes (including shoes, socks and underwear)
- a toothbrush and toothpaste
- shower gel and shampoo
- a cup, bowl and plate
They’ll get to speak to a ‘first night officer’ who’ll ask them:
- how they are feeling
- how they are coping with being in custody
- if there is anything the Wetherby should know about, such as medication they need or any worries they have
The young person will be given a personal officer and a secondary personal officer.
The personal officer will be the young person’s main point of contact for questions and problems. They can also ask other members of staff if they need anything.
Each young person who arrives at Wetherby 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.
Each young person is given a caseworker who will help them make the most of opportunities in custody, so that their experience is positive. The caseworker will be in touch with the young person’s youth offending team (YOT) worker and family during their time in custody
Around 300 young people live at Wetherby and everyone gets their own room.
There are 8 units:
- Benbow - where young people spend their first night and induction period
- Collingwood - where most young people on the ‘Gold’ behaviour level live
Once the induction is complete, the young person’s progress will be assessed and they will move into one of the residential units.
Every week the young person’s progress is assessed. This includes how they have treated others and whether they have attended education.
The 3 levels of behaviour are:
Young people at Gold level can earn extra rewards and privileges, including more money and extra free time.
Free time is called ‘association’ and takes place between 6.30pm and 8pm, Monday to Friday. There is extra association time at the weekend.
The young person can use this time to:
- play games like table tennis
- make phone calls
Young people get at least 30 minutes outside every day (depending on the weather or any exceptional circumstances). This is normally around 4:30pm to 6pm on weekdays and a little earlier at the weekend.
A large number of volunteers work with the chaplaincy at Wetherby to give young people access to a range of religious services and faith rooms.
Every young person gets 30 hours of education a week. This is provided by an organisation called Novus.
Courses are offered to help young people gain qualifications. They include GCSEs, A levels, construction, hospitality and catering, business enterprise, creative media, music and art.
All courses include help with English, maths and personal development.
The Novus team works with each young person to help them get college places or apprenticeships when they are released. They might also be able to work in the community during their sentence.
Young people in Wetherby can earn up to £2.50 a week by taking part in education.
The amount someone has available to spend each week is printed on their canteen sheet. They can order things like extra food, phone credit and stamps using this sheet.
Certain items, such as stereos, can be bought through an Argos catalogue in their unit.
Organisations Wetherby works with
Support for family and friends
Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.
Problems and complaints
If you have a problem Contact Wetherby. If you can’t resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.
HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Wetherby in response to independent inspections.
Governor: Craig Lowe
General enquiries: 01937 544 200
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Out of hours (ask for the duty governor): 01937 544 211 (24 hours)
Fax: 01937 544 201
Find out about call charges
If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a young person at Wetherby, call the safeguarding messaging service to leave a voicemail. The team will listen to your message and follow up on any concerns you raise.
Safeguarding team (24 hours, Freephone number): 0800 496 1003
Use the general contact numbers if you have an urgent concern.
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