Guidance

Woodhill Prison

Woodhill is a men’s high security prison and young offender institution (YOI) in Milton Keynes.

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:

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003.

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Book and plan your visit to Woodhill

To visit someone in Woodhill you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

A maximum of 3 people aged 18 or older can visit at one time, plus children. At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

Residents can have one weekend visit and 2 weekday visits a month plus additional visits depending on their privilege level.

Call the visits booking line on 01908 722 329 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 Woodhill
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 01908 722 329
Monday to Friday, 8am to 11:30am and 1pm to 3:30pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Thursday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Saturday: 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 2pm to 4pm

You should aim to arrive by 8am for a 9am visit and 12:30pm for a 2pm visit to allow time to go through security.

You will not be admitted if you arrive later than 30 minutes after the start of the visit.

Request a legal visits form from: legalvisits.woodhill@justice.gov.uk

You will need to complete and return the form to request your visit. It may take up to 3 days to confirm your appointment.

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 8:30am to 9:40am, 10:10am to 11:10am
  • Tuesday: 8:30am to 9:40am, 10:10am to 11:10am, 1:45pm to 3:15pm, 3:30pm to 4:15pm
  • Wednesday: 8:30am to 9:40am, 10:10am to 11:10am, 1:45pm to 3:15pm, 3:30pm to 4:15pm
  • Thursday: 8:30am to 9:40am, 10:10am to 11:10am, 1:45pm to 3:15pm, 3:30pm to 4:15pm

Getting to Woodhill

Find Woodhill on a map

The closest railway station is Milton Keynes Central, which is about 2.5 miles from Woodhill. Local buses run from the station to the prison.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is a visitors car park including space for Blue Badge holders.

Entering Woodhill

All visitors aged 16 and older should have either 1 of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport, including expired passports where the photograph is still recognisable
  • driving licence
  • benefits book
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • employer or student ID card (if it shows the employer or college name, the name of the visitor, and includes a photo and signature)
  • European Community ID

Or 2 of the following forms of ID:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • cheque book or credit/debit/ card (counts as one form of ID)
  • employer or student ID card not acceptable on its own
  • young person’s proof of age card
  • trade union or student union membership card
  • rent book
  • non-EU foreign ID or residence card
  • prison visitors organisation ID (for example, the New Bridge Foundation)

Expired documents will be accepted if they appear satisfactory in other ways.

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Woodhill has a family-friendly dress code which means visitors should dress appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like cropped or low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses, ripped jeans or see-through clothing. Additionally, you cannot wear cargo or combat trousers, slippers, steel toe-capped footwear or anything with offensive patterns or slogans. You will need to remove scarves, gloves, watches, excessive jewellery, large buckles, chains and hats (except religious head coverings) before you go in. Ask in the visitors centre if you have questions about the dress code.

Each adult visitor is allowed to take in a maximum of £20 in coins and small notes (£20 notes are not allowed). The money can be used to buy food and drink in the visiting hall.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Woodhill. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker in the visitors centre which takes £1 coins. 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

There is a visitors centre run by the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT). Family and friends can relax, buy refreshments and get advice and support from the staff.

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday to Thursday: midday to 4:45pm
  • Saturday: 8:15am to 11:30am, midday to 4:45pm
  • Sunday: 12:30pm to 16:45pm

Telephone: 01908 722 242
Find out about call charges

Family visits

Woodhill holds monthly father and child visits to give residents more time to spend time with their children in a relaxed setting. These take place on the third Saturday of each month.

Residents can apply for these visits or families can ask about them at the visitors centre.

Keep in touch with someone at Woodhill

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

Phone calls

Residents have phones in their rooms which they can use at set times:

  • 6am to 8am
  • 9am to 1pm
  • 2pm to 11pm

The phones do not accept incoming calls so residents 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.

Email

You can send emails to someone in Woodhill 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 Woodhill.

Letters

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 Woodhill.

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
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to ‘HMPPS’. They should include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back, plus your own name and address.

Gifts and parcels

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

Life at Woodhill

Woodhill 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 Woodhill 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 Milton Keynes Safeguarding Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Woodhill, 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.

Induction

Each person who arrives at Woodhill gets an induction that lasts 5 days. 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.

Accommodation

Around 800 men live at Woodhill in a mixture of single and shared rooms. All rooms have phones for outgoing calls.

Education and work

Residents have access to a broad programme of learning opportunities designed around their employment goals. Subjects include:

  • English
  • maths
  • painting and decorating
  • multi-skills
  • catering
  • music technology

Work is available throughout the prison, along with the chance to study and earn professional qualifications. Areas include:

  • contract workshop
  • laundry
  • waste management
  • garden party
  • market garden
  • kitchens

Residents can also take up mentoring positions to assist others with their learning.

Temporary release

Residents may qualify for release on temporary licence. This can be used to gain work experience in the local community and prepare for release. Residents can apply for this within the prison.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Woodhill

The PACT team provides a range of information, guidance and support to families and friends of residents. More information is available on the PACT website.

You can also get help from the Woodhill chaplaincy team when you need to have a difficult conversation or give bad news to a resident. Contact Woodhill on the main number and ask to speak to the chaplaincy.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Woodhill

Governor: Nicola Marfleet

Telephone: 01908 722 000
Fax: 01908 722 320
Find out about call charges

Follow Woodhill on Twitter

Address

HMP/YOI Woodhill
Tattenhoe Street
Milton Keynes
Buckinghamshire
MK4 4DA

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Woodhill, call the urgent concern line to speak to the safer custody team. Out of hours, your call will be forwarded to the control room where you can ask to speak to the orderly officer.

Telephone: 01908 722 152
Find out about call charges

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Published 2 June 2020