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
Winchester is now offering limited visits for family and friends in line with coronavirus restrictions.
To ensure the safety of visitors, residents and staff, there are strict guidelines which must be followed during you visit.
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
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.
How to book legal and professional visits
There are currently no legal visits taking place.
Getting to Winchester
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.
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.
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.
The charity Spurgeons runs the visitor services at Winchester.
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 resident during their time at Winchester.
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 Winchester 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 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.
Gifts and parcels
Contact Winchester for information on sending property to residents.
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.
All safeguarding processes are overseen by the Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board.
Arrival and first night
When a resident 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 residents with recreational activities.
Education and work
Residents 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. Residents can also work on the wings decorating, cleaning and serving meals.
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 residents prepare for their release. They provide support with things like housing, employment, finance and relationships.
There are opportunities for residents 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 . 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 Winchester in response to independent inspections.
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
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.