Guidance

Wormwood Scrubs Prison

Wormwood Scrubs is a men’s prison in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, West London.

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 Wormwood Scrubs

To visit someone in Wormwood Scrubs you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit at least 2 days in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

There may be a limit to the number of visits a person can have. You can check this with Wormwood Scrubs.

Contact Wormwood Scrubs 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 Wormwood Scrubs
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

You can also book your first visit by telephone, but all future visits must be booked online.

Booking/information line: 0300 060 6511
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday: 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm (afternoon session first Tuesday of the month only)
  • Wednesday: 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm
  • Thursday (except first Thursday of the month): 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm
  • Friday: 9am to 11am
  • Saturday: 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 2pm to 4pm

You will not be admitted if you are more than half an hour late.

Email: hmppsvisitbooking@noms.gsi.gov.uk

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 060 6511
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Legal visits can take place at an open table or a closed booth.

Visiting times:

  • Monday: 9am to 10am, 10am to 11am, 2pm to 3pm, 3pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday: 9am to 10am, 10am to 11am, 2pm to 3pm, 3pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday: 9am to 10am, 10am to 11am, 2pm to 3pm, 3pm to 4pm
  • Thursday 9am to 10am, 10am to 11am, 2pm to 3pm, 3pm to 4pm
  • Friday: 9am to 10am, 10am to 11am

Getting to Wormwood Scrubs

Find Wormwood Scrubs on a map

Wormwood Scrubs is a 10-minute walk from East Acton underground station. The closest mainline railway station is London Paddington. Several local bus routes pass the prison.

To plan your journey by public transport:

If coming by car, you can park outside the prison. You will need to pay and display at certain times during the week. Check times and prices on the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham website.

There is no visitor parking in the prison.

Entering Wormwood Scrubs

All visitors aged 16 and older need to bring one of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport
  • 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.

Wormwood Scrubs has a family-friendly dress code policy which means visitors should dress appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like vests, low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses, ripped jeans, flip-flops or headwear other than that worn for religious reasons. Additionally, you cannot wear anything with offensive patterns or slogans, uniforms, steel toe-capped boots or motorcycle boots. You will need to remove hats, scarves, sunglasses and metal accessories 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 £25 to buy food and drink from the canteen in the visiting hall.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Wormwood Scrubs. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security, including pushchairs and car seats. You will need a £1 coin for the 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.

Visiting facilities

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

The centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Saturday from 8:30am to 5pm and Sunday from 1:15pm to 5pm.

Email: wormwoodscrubs@prisonadvice.org.uk
Telephone: 020 8735 0595
Find out about call charges

Family days

Wormwood Scrubs holds family days where men can spend longer with their families in a more informal and relaxed environment.

Ask at the visitor centre for more details.

Keep in touch with someone at Wormwood Scrubs

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

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.

Email

You can send emails to someone in Wormwood Scrubs 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 Wormwood Scrubs.

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 Wormwood Scrubs.

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

Residents are given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts. Contact Wormwood Scrubs for more information on what’s allowed.

All parcels must be sent by a courier service such as DHL or Parcelforce. Wormwood Scrubs will not accept any parcels sent by Royal Mail.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the parcel.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

Life at Wormwood Scrubs

Wormwood Scrubs is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Wormwood Scrubs 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 London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Wormwood Scrubs, 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 at the prison who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.

Induction

Each person who arrives at Wormwood Scrubs 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.

Accommodation

Around 1200 men live at Wormwood Scrubs in a mixture of single and shared rooms. There are 5 main wings (A to E) plus a number of smaller specialist units.

Facilities include book rooms on all wings and a fully equipped gym.

Wormwood Scrubs Prison has a diverse, multi-faith chaplaincy team providing support to residents.

Education and work

Residents can choose from a broad range of learning opportunities, including:

  • English
  • maths
  • information and communication technology (ICT)
  • English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)
  • painting and decorating
  • customer service
  • barbering
  • rail-track laying

There are several contract workshops at Wormwood Scrubs where residents can gain work experience and qualifications, including industrial cleaning and laundry.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Problems and complaints

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

Contact Wormwood Scrubs

Governor: Jonathon French

Telephone: 020 8588 3200
Fax: 020 8588 3201
Find out about call charges

Address

HMP Wormwood Scrubs
PO Box 757
Du Cane Road
London
W12 0AE

See map

Safer custody hotline

Call the switchboard if you’re worried about a man at Wormwood Scrubs and they will put you through to the safer custody team or an orderly officer.

Published 2 June 2020
Last updated 26 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated governor name

  2. First published.