Regime information for Pentonville Prison

Learning & Skills and employment in Pentonville

The OLASS contract is delivered by Novus (The Manchester College) who provide access to nationally recognised qualifications across a range of Vocational Training, Personal Development and Functional Skills programmes. The curriculum is designed to offer a foundation to learning providing opportunities for learners to develop and enhance their skills and therefore their routes to employment and/or further training.

All prisoners are given an Education and Work Induction to assess their Educational level. Novus provide the following courses:-

  • ESOL (Pre Entry to E3)
  • Maths (Entry to Level 2)
  • English (Entry to Level 2)
  • Functional Skills Outreach
  • Art
  • Business
  • ICT
  • Journalism
  • Health & Safety
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Carpentry
  • Industrial Cleaning
  • Barbering
  • Radio Production
  • Manual Handling
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Customer Services
  • Food Safety
  • Employability

The priority of the prison is to help prisoners to develop their literacy, numeracy and language skills to improve their employability skills. Outreach in functional skills is provided in the Workshops, Segregation Unit, Drug Rehabilitation Unit and Vulnerable prisoner Unit. Relevant support is given to learners who wish to study via Distance Learning and Partnership working/learning with Universities.


Textiles workshop

The Textiles workshop has a contract with 1-3-1 Solution to produce duvets, pillow cases and sheets for prisons. The workshop has 30 machines including flatbeds, 5 thread over lockers, a buttonhole machine and a cover stitch machine. There is a new embroidery machine which is used to embroider all the official T Shirts and Jumpers worn by prison workers in Pentonville. This machine has recently been put into more use as the prison celebrates 175 years. It was been used to embroider the prison 175 years emblem for sales to staff.

The textiles workshop offers 25 activity spaces per session. The workshop currently implements skills tracking in the areas of packing, health & safety, sewing by machine, material cutting, embroidery and cleaning. The supervisors are due to complete their assessor’s training very soon and we hope to commence delivery of qualifications straight after.

The workshop provides a realistic working environment equipping learners with essential work and employability skills and prisoners have achieved very good production targets.

Recycling workshop

The recycling workshop was opened on the 4th July 2016. It started with recycling (sorted and compacting) cardboard, paper, plastics tins and cans from one of the wings. Over the last few months the work in this area has expanded and waste items from all over the prison are now being recycled. About 90% of our recyclable waste are now compacted and collected by a recycling company who gives us rebate in exchange thereby creating income for the prisoners.

Two months ago, we commence the recycling of our food waste. We are aiming to achieve 0% food waste to landfill by the end of next year. Last month, we commenced recycling of prisoners mattresses.

The existence of this workshop has save the prison a lot of money. The compactor is exchanged less frequently, useful items that are thrown in the bin that could have gone into the compactor are retrieved during sorting.

The Recycling workshop offers 12 activity spaces per session. The workshop currently implements workshop and employability skills for prisoners. The supervisors are also due to complete their assessor’s training very soon and we hope to commence delivery of qualifications straight after.

Prisoner employment

In addition to Education and employment in the workshops, prisoners are able to apply for the following work:-

  • Insiders (Information contact point for prisoners)
  • Wing Cleaners
  • Mediators
  • Specialist Cleaners
  • Peer Supporters
  • Wing Barbers
  • Library Orderlies
  • Reception Orderlies
  • Healthcare Orderlies
  • Visits Orderlies
  • Gym Orderlies
  • Chaplaincy Orderlies
  • Education Cleaners
  • Kitchen staff
  • Staff Mess Orderlies
  • Fire Prevention Marshalls
  • Prison Carers
  • Barista Trainees
  • Clothing Exchange Store (CES) (Vulnerable Prisoners)
  • Recycling and Bins (Vulnerable Prisoners only)

Gymnasium & Sports

The PE department has four gyms, these include: - two Weights & Fitness Centre’s with free weights and a variety of fitness equipment, a Drug Rehab Gym and a Sports Hall which facilitates football, volleyball, basketball, circuits & badminton. PE programs run throughout the week and also provide evening provision for enhanced prisoners four evenings per week and are supervised by PEI’s (Physical Education Instructors).

The PEI’s deliver the following courses. Active IQ Level 1 Healthy Living and General Wellbeing Course. Active IQ Level 2 Gym Instructor Course: This helps prisoners to work towards gaining employment in the fitness industry and Active IQ Level 3 Personal Trainer award. The Gym also provides the Emergency First Aid at Work course and 1st 4 Sport Level 2 Olympic Weight Lifting Course in partnership with British Weight Lifting.

The PEI’s also deliver the following, Remedial Gym - open to all prisoners under the direction of Healthcare, over 50’s Gym, Power Lifting Club - open to all to improve the standard of weight training in the gym environment and Fitness Club: - a club formed to aid prisoners who have little idea about fitness and weight control issues.

Pentonville PE department have links and partnerships within the community and work closely with ‘Arsenal in the Community’ and ‘Street League football’ charity. In addition the PE department also work in partnership with the National Careers Service (NCS) to help prisoners gain employment in the fitness Industry.

For more detailed information on the regime please refer to the induction booklet.

Safer Prisons and Equalities Team

The Safer prisons and Equalities Team is dedicated to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all prisoners that reside within HMP Pentonville.

We offer primarily offer support to the following prisoners:

  • Prisoners at risk of violence or gang related issues
  • Prisoners at risk of self-harm or suicide
  • Foreign national prisoners
  • Prisoners with disabilities (physical or learning)
  • Transgender prisoners
  • Prisoners who may be vulnerable for any other reason.

If you have any concerns about the welfare or wellbeing of a close friend or family member, you can contact the Safer prisons Team via their function mailbox:

This mailbox is monitored Monday- Friday between the hours of 09:00- 16:30.

Please note that due to the data protection act, we may be limited to the type of material we can share in response to information received. All information received will be assessed and appropriate actions taken to maintain the safety of all prisoners and staff within HMP Pentonville.

Information about the role of this department and the services available can be found in the induction booklet.

Offender management

The Offender Management Unit is comprised of Prison & Probation staff applying a multi-agency working approach with the aim of reducing reoffending and protecting the public. They are responsible for:

  • Sentence calculations
  • Sentence planning boards
  • Oral hearings
  • Parole hearings
  • Licence Recalls,
  • Home Detention Curfew
  • Offender case work
  • Prisoner Transfers
  • Public protection
  • Court production
  • Video link court diaries
  • Foreign Nationals
  • Visor
  • PNC

Public Protection work includes Risk Management Meetings/MAPPA (Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements)/Prolific & Priority Offenders work and the completion of risk assessments.

The Offender Supervisor/Probation Officer work closely with the Offender Managers in the community. Staff attend external meetings when risk issues need to be addressed to protect the public/staff/offender.

For any queries or information please contact the team Via and your query will be passed onto the relevant part of the team.


Healthcare provision in Pentonville is provided by Care UK.


The Chaplaincy at Pentonville provides support to prisoners, their family and friends and members of staff. A Chaplain is on duty 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We have a full time Managing Chaplain, CE Chaplain, RC Chaplain and Muslim Chaplain. Many other chaplains from other faith communities either volunteer or work here on a part time basis.

Pentonville has an Ecumenical Christian Chapel, Synagogue and a Mosque.  In addition to conducting Religious services, we also offer a variety of opportunities to encourage prisoners to engage with their faith through courses such as Quran classes, the Alpha Course, Bible studies, and choir practice. The Chaplaincy team is committed to engaging with outside faith communities with a focus on reducing re-offending. This is done where possible by linking offender’s pre and post-release with their local faith community through agencies such as Caring For Ex-Offenders (CFEO), the Prince’s Trust and PACT.

Further support is offered through the Official Prison Visitors (OPV) scheme which is coordinated through the Chaplaincy.

Facilities list

Facilities list (PDF)


Pentonville has a single booth for video-links with legal firms and probation. We advise booking this at least 2 weeks in advance due to the high demand for its use. Bookings can be made the same way as booking other legal visits. Please contact the team with your request on

Pentonville has a much larger video-link facility for use by the courts. Slots not used by the courts directly are offered to legal firms and probation however they must be used in the court itself and with the courts permission. Please contact the individual court to confirm this. Once this has been done please contact to book your court video-link slot. Please note this should only be used for links via court otherwise please use the legal visits address.

Additional information: One hour sessions are held in interview rooms. Two hour sessions are held in the visits overflow. The overflow area is not private. If you are going to discuss things that are of a sensitive nature please request an interview room at the time of booking your visit.

Other information

Property and money

When new prisoners are received into Pentonville they will receive a parcel label and a delivery form. They will need to send out the label and the form to their family/friends. The form will explain exactly what is allowed to be sent in and what is not to be sent in. The prisoner’s family/friends will fill in the form detailing what they are sending and will attach the sticky label to the parcel. As there is only one label they will only be able to send one parcel.  There is a weight limit of 15kgs for the parcel. Any parcels weighing more than this will not be accepted and no replacement sticker will be given. If any parcel is sent into Pentonville without one of the official labels attached and without the sender’s name and address completed on it, then it will not be accepted at the Gate and will be sent back “Return to Sender”. No parcels will be accepted directly from Amazon or similar mail order companies.

Convicted prisoners may apply for a sticker and form 6 months after conviction. This must be used to replace clothing or footwear that is no longer decent or fit for use.. The replacement clothing will be on a ‘one-for-one’ basis. The clothing will be destroyed and will not be stored.

Books can be included in the parcel but the weight limit will still be implemented. Therefore, books can be handed in to the Visitor Centre at HMP Pentonville. They must not be posted in separately as they will be refused at the gate and ‘Returned to Sender’.  Although there is no limit on the number of books allowed in possession, they are still subject to volumetric control limits.

There will be two exceptions to the one parcel rule; Games consoles, memory cards and games can be sent in once the prisoner reaches the Enhanced IEP Level. In this case, the prisoner will need to submit a Reception Application requesting another sticker and form. No further clothing will be allowed to be sent with the games console. And court clothes for unexpected court cases may be sent in. Again, the prisoner will need to make an application for an additional sticker and form.

Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service


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