Visiting the prison

Visiting the prison

We recognise that maintaining links with friends, families and children is a hugely motivating factor for offenders that can positively influence behaviour change and directly reduce reconviction rates.

At HMP Northumberland we are committed to working with families, the local community and voluntary sector partners to help prisoners and individuals in any way to maintain meaningful family contact throughout a period of custody. We want to strengthen the relationship between HMP Northumberland and the families of those affected by imprisonment to ensure that everyone receives the best possible support, maintain important links with loved ones and prepare for release.

Health safety and hygiene

All elements of the visits process are subject to risk assessment processes to ensure that a healthy and secure environment. The prison has a full time Health and Safety Officer and all staff are appropriately trained in Health and Safety legislation. There is a comprehensive cleaning schedule in place and full accident and incident reporting procedures.

 

Visiting times

Details of HMP Northumberland visiting times.

The visitor centre is open and staffed:

Monday to Friday 08.30 to 10.30 to accommodate families and release of prisoners as “The departure Lounge” alongside probation and prison staff offering tea bar services

Tuesday to Thursday 12.45 to 16.15 for visits

Saturday and Sunday 08.30 to 12.00 and 12.45 to 16.15 for visits.

How to book a visit

Guidelines of how to book visits to Northumberland prison.

Prisoners must book their own visits using the wing kiosks, an electronic booking system. Prisoners must book the Date; Time Type of visit, and then inform visitors of this information.

Legal visits are booked by email: legalvisits.northumberland@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

Before and during vists

What to expect and how to prepare for visiting the prison.

  1. Visitors must bring photographic ID (a driver’s licence if not a passport and two official letters, household bills or statements.)
     
  2. On their first visit, they will need this information to register on the electronic system which records their photo image and an image of their finger scan.
     
  3. First time visitors should arrive 20 minutes prior to the first visit, to allow time to register. Once on the system, this will speed up future visits.
     
  4. Children will not be photographed or have finger prints taken but ID will be required.
     
  5. All visitors should expect to be searched when entering the prison.
     
  6. Visits room security staff maintain a balance between security and support. Staff are trained to detect any attempts to pass contraband within the visits room and to challenge behaviour which contravenes normally accepted public decency standards.

Security

Security guidance and details about enforced behavioural standards for those visiting residents at HMP Northumberland.

  • Visitors undergo a number of security procedures before gaining entry to the visit room. This is to prevent escape and prevent the introduction of illicit items.
     
  • By concentrating on entry procedures, a more relaxed environment can be created within the visit room, enhancing the experience.
     
  • Visitors must provide their identity, provide biometric finger scans, undergo rub down and drug detection dog searches, submit items for X-ray and be checked with metal detector wands.

    A future addition to this process is an online video which will provide insight into entering a prison through a child’s eye.

Types of visit

Details about the social (friends), family, father/child and closed visits allowed at HMP Northumberland.

Social visits

The main visit room currently has 64 visits tables, each of which provides seats for one prisoner and three adult visitors. We also have a small number of seats that can accommodate slightly larger families if requested.

Social visit times

Tuesday to Thursday
13.45 to 15.45 (vulnerable prisoners) and 14.00 to 16.00 (main prisoners)

Saturday and Sunday
09.15 to 11.15 (VP’s)
09.30 to 11.30 (Mains)
14.00 to 15.45 (VP’s)
14.15 to 16.00 (Mains)

Standard convicted prisoners have access to three visits per month.
Enhanced prisoners have access to five visits per month.
Additional visits can be granted on request.

 

Family visits

Prisoners must demonstrate a consistently good standard of behaviour, a willingness to interact with their families as witnessed on social visits and be free of any security or public protection concerns. Prisoners whose families do not attend at short notice may lose the privilege as spaces are limited and demand very high.

These visits are more relaxed and allow for greater interaction between family members. There is more freedom of movement and greater opportunity for shared activities. We hold family visits every six to eight weeks, with more during the summer holiday period we hope to use feedback from those who have attended and benefited from family events to refresh our offer of activities so we can continually improve the future offer.

 

Father/child visits

Prisoners must demonstrate a consistently good standard of behaviour, a willingness to interact with their children as witnessed on social visits and be free of any security or public protection concerns.

Parents and carers will attend for the first and last fifteen minutes of the visits with the prisoners spending the majority of the visit alone with their children while supervised by trained staff, this allows positive interaction between the father and the children. Like the Family visits, the atmosphere is more relaxed with greater freedom around the visits hall.

 

Closed visits

Closed visits take place in a dedicated suite of four, non-contact visits rooms which can be observed by prison staff. These closed visits are imposed if there are security concerns and this option for families is time bound. The imposition of closed visits is time limited and, unless a further duration is considered necessary, ordinary visits resume after this period.

The prisoner is informed at least 48 hours in advance of the resumption of ordinary visits or the extension of the period of closed visits.

All professional visits are booked via e-mail: legalvisits.northumberland@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

 

Contact by email or letter

Information about emailing to and letters sent from a prisoner.

Emailing a prisoner

The prison subscribes to the scheme whereby members of the public can send emails via a secure third party.

These are then printed in the prison and handed to the prisoner as mail.

This facility is widely advertised within the prison and the visitors centre. Families can also send blank forms which residents can write on and be emailed back in response. Further to this, friends and family members are able to subscribe to this service via the internet.

 

Letters

Each prisoner is allowed to send unlimited letters, with one letter each week at the expense of the prison.

Following approval by a Unit Manager, more than one letter per week may be sent at the expense of Sodexo if justified by the prisoner’s circumstances.

Prisoners are provided with a pen, writing paper and an envelope.

Telephone access

Details of the rules and times for use of telephones.

  • Prisoners are permitted to make telephone calls at their own expense using the BT Pin Phone system.
  • Prisoners will be allocated a unique PIN telephone code on reception with a £1 on it.
  • Prisoners may have a maximum of 20 telephone numbers this can be made up of 15 personal and five legal numbers.

Residents may have the use of a telephone at the following times:

Monday to Thursday

11.30 to 12.00
16.30 to 18.30

Friday

11.15 to 11.45
14.00 to 16.30

Saturday and Sunday

10.00 to 12.00
14.00 to 16.30

Visitor centre facilities

Information about the tea bar, disabled access and play care facilities available to visitors.

Facilities include:

  • Hot and cold drinks
  • Disabled access toilets and baby changing facilities
  • Unsupervised children’s play area

Visits tea bar

  • A canteen operated within the main visit room, operated by NEPACS. The canteen serves a range of hot and cold drinks and snacks. The canteen is open during every visits session.

Play care facilities

  • Both the visitors centre and the visits hall have play areas operated, with the visits hall play area supervised by NEPACS with a variety of toys, games and activities.

How we collect and use your data

COLLECTION OF DATA

In order to facilitate your visit to one of our prisons and to ensure that we deliver appropriate levels of security and safety and prevent crime, for identification purposes we shall collect your name, date of birth, address, a biometric template of your fingerprint and a photograph. A series of reference points from a finger print are collected, allowing a unique identification pattern. We do not collect or hold actual fingerprints.

Our prisons operate CCTV and staff may wear Body Worn Video Recording Equipment. We do not collect biometric readings or photographs of children under 16, however with the use of CCTV, images may routinely be captured.

DATA SHARING

We will only share your information with a third party where there is a legal obligation to do so.

RIGHTS OF ACCESS, CORRECTION, ERASURE AND RESTRICTION

You have legal rights in connection with personal information. Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:

  • Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
  • Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing.
  • Object to processing of your personal information by us or on our behalf in certain situations.
  • Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.

DATA RETENTION

We keep personal data in accordance with our clients’ and Sodexo’s retention procedures. These retention periods depend on the nature of the information (e.g. we apply different retention periods to different type of information such as CCTV and your visitor record), and may be subject to change.

If you have any questions or concerns about how long we retain your personal data, please contact the Data Protection Officer using the details below.

FURTHER ADVICE / GUIDANCE

To exercise your rights, you can contact us by writing to us at the following address: dataprotection.ukandie@sodexo.com or email the Global Data Protection Office at the following email address: dpo.group@sodexo.com stating your surname, first name and the reason for your request. We will most likely ask you for additional information in order to identify you and to enable us to deal with your request

You also have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office and file a complaint. (https://ico.org.uk/concerns/)

 

HMP Northumberland
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE65 9XG