Winchester Prison

Winchester is a men’s prison and young offender institution (YOI) in the centre of Winchester, Hampshire.

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Book and plan your visit to Winchester

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 Winchester 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.

If the man is on remand they can have one visit a day.

If the man has been convicted (they have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing) they can have 2 visits a month or more depending on behaviour.

Contact Winchester 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 Winchester
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

Winchester is running a limited visits schedule. Visits are also happening differently than normal, observing strict guidelines, which must be followed.

To find out more on how to book your visit, contact Winchester.

You can book your visit by telephone. There is no online booking service available.

Booking line: 0345 223 5514
Booking line opening times: Monday to Friday, 10am to 11:30am and 2pm to 3:30pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 1:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Thursday: 1:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Saturday: 1:30pm to 4:30pm

There are currently no legal visits taking place.

Getting to Winchester

Find Winchester Prison on a map

Winchester Prison is about half a mile from Winchester railway station. It is opposite the Royal Hampshire County Hospital. There are regular buses from the station or you can take a taxi.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is limited parking around the prison. If you come by car, you will need to park in one of the city centre car parks or use the Park & Ride. Buses run every 15 minutes and stop close to the prison.

Contact Winchester if you have access needs and would like to discuss your visit.

Entering Winchester

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.

Visitors should dress appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like revealing clothing or clothing with offensive slogans.

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Winchester. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

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

The charity Spurgeons runs the visitor services at Winchester.

Family days

There are currently no family days being run.

Keep in touch with someone at Winchester

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

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

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.

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 Winchester using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies, depending on the rules at Winchester.


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 Winchester.

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

Contact Winchester for information on sending property to prisoners.

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.

Life at Winchester

Winchester Prison is committed to providing a safe and engaging environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

The prison aims to provide a service to the men that is caring, kind and compassionate, allowing them to feel valued members of the prison community.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Winchester 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 the Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Winchester, 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 Winchester 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 690 men live at Winchester. The rooms in the main wings are mostly shared. The rooms in the Westhill unit are all single.

A gym provides prisoners with recreational activities.

Education and work

Prisoners have access to education provided by Milton Keynes College.

Work is available throughout the prison in areas such as recycling, light assembly, textiles, catering and IT. Prisoners can also work on the wings decorating, cleaning and serving meals.

Temporary release

Release on temporary licence (ROTL) may be offered in certain circumstances.

Organisations Winchester works with

Winchester works with Catch 22, a not-for-profit business, to help prisoners prepare for their release. They provide support with things like housing, employment, finance and relationships.

There are opportunities for prisoners to take part in Saints 4 Sport. The programme uses sport to help participants put routine and purpose back into their lives.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Winchester

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) offers support for friends and families of men at Winchester.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Winchester .

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

Contact Winchester

Governor: James Bourke

Main switchboard: 01962 723 000
Community mental health team: 01962 723 000
Fax: 01962 723 001 (main office) or 01962 723 108 (Westhill unit)
Find out about call charges


HMP/YOI Winchester
Romsey Road
SO22 5DF

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Winchester, call the safer custody hotline.

Telephone: 01962 723 320
Find out about call charges

Leave your name, telephone number, the man’s name and prisoner number and a brief message about your concerns. You should be called back within 24 hours.

In an emergency, call the switchboard.

Published 5 May 2020
Last updated 1 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

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

  3. Updated visiting information: Visits have been suspended.

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

  5. Updated physical contact guidance

  6. Updated the booking line number.

  7. New visiting times and booking information added.

  8. 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.

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

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

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

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

  13. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  14. First published.