Pentonville prison visiting information

Social visits

Mon: 09:15 - 11:15 & 14:15 - 16:15
Tues: 09:15 - 11:15 & 14:15 - 16:15
Wed: 09:15 - 11:15 & 14:15 - 16:15
Thurs: 14:15 - 16:15
Friday: 14:15 - 16:15
Sat: 09:15 - 11:15 & 14:15 - 16:15
Sun: 14:00 - 16:15

Booking information: All visits must be booked at least 48 hours in advance online www.gov.uk/prison-visits or via email socialvisits.pentonville@hmps.gsi.gov.uk.  We aim to reply to your queries and booking requests within 24 hours or the same day where possible.

A limited phone service is available by contacting 020 7023 7251. Our phone service is for those individuals without internet access only and is resourced accordingly. Please use other booking methods wherever possible to avoid generating large waiting times on the phone booking service.

The visits phone booking line is open Monday to Friday between 08:30 – 16:45.

Booking online

To book online, visit: www.gov.uk/prison-visits

All you need is: 

  • the name and date of birth of the person you are visiting 
  • their prisoner number. 

You can choose up to 3 possible dates and times. Prison booking staff will check what’s available and confirm your visit by email.

When booking a visit, please provide the following information:

  • Full name and prison number of the prisoner you wish to visit
  • Full name, address and date of birth of each visitor
  • The relationship of each visitor to the prisoner (wife, son etc) 
  • Requested date and time of visit - for email bookings please give options in order of preference for each visit 

Additional information:

Visitor Centre: There is a family-friendly Visitor's Centre run by Spurgeons, a national charity. Visitors are offered a warm welcome, information and support. For more information please go to www.spurgeons.org/hmp-pentonville, call 020 7609 3860 or email pentonville@spurgeons.org.

This building is situated about half way along the front of the prison. The centre aims to support families and friends of prisoners: they will advise you on visit times, property etc. The centre provides information on prison systems, welfare rights, advice and support in confidence.

It is open: 

Monday to Saturday from 08:30 - 16:30 (waiting area facility only between 12:00 and 13:00, reception closed)

Sundays 12:30 - 16:30, (waiting area facility only before 13:00, reception closed).  

There are lockers provided to store all unauthorised or personal belongings in the centre which take a £1 refundable coin.

Play area facilities: There is a children's play area in the Visits Room itself, which is currently open on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Refreshments: The visiting hall has a tea bar, which is subject to availability, where a range of refreshments are available. Please be advised that only £20.00 (in change) per person is allowed in the visiting hall.

Family Days: Family days are held approximately 6 times per year. Other events aimed at providing positive interaction between families are run in conjunction with partner organisations. Details are published both on the wings and in the Visiting Centre. 

We work closely with our partner organisations to provide courses aimed at understanding and strengthening the relationship between partners and families. We also provide courses designed to assist new parents so they are better prepared for their release as new parents and run workshops and courses for those dealing with other sensitive issues such as substance misuse. Details can be found on the wings or ask within the visits centre. 

Property and money: The rules relating to prisoners' property vary depending on whether they are convicted, civil, or unconvicted. Prisoners can purchase some items internally. Convicted prisoners can only have items brought in this way. For unconvicted prisoners, civil prisoners and those held solely on immigration matters property must be sent in via the post. Parcels without the senders address and details clearly marked will not be accepted. Please also ensure that the intended recipient is clearly identified. Money can only be posted in as a postal order. No cash please. 

Security: When on a visit a simple guide is that no food, no drink, and no drugs or mobile phones are to be brought into the prison. All visitors will be searched and passive drug detection dogs may be used. All visitors will be monitored via CCTV for the duration of their visit. All visitors will be required to wear a wrist band for further identification. These must only be removed by staff. 

Biometrics Identification system: HMP Pentonville currently uses a biometric identification system. All Social and legal visitors are required to provide Identification and /or letters of Introduction.
These are checked, confirmed and you are then enrolled onto the biometric system which involves taking a photo and a scan of your index fingers.

Accepted types of ID are

  • Driving licence.
  • Passport (old passports are acceptable as long as photo still resembles you)
  • ND / Border agency ID cards.
  • EC identity card
  • Benefits book
  • Senior citizens public transport pass issued by a local authority (oyster cards will not be accepted)

You MUST bring all Identification with you on every visit BUT once enrolled onto the biometrics you will not be expected to show it.

Please note that bank cards, marriage certificates and bills will not be accepted as alternatives for valid ID as stated above.

Dress code for visitors

HMP Pentonville operates a family orientated visits policy. The majority of our visitors are accompanied by children and we want to foster a decent, safe and relaxed family environment. 

To maintain decency in the visits hall our dress code must be adhered to. This is to prevent inappropriate clothing being worn in and around the presence of other visitors and staff.

The following items of clothing should NOT be worn:

  • Hats or scarves and head covering which are not worn on religious grounds
  • Jackets or Coats
  • Inappropriately damaged clothing 
  • Metal hair accessories   
  • Steel toe capped shoes/boots or cycle/motorcycle shoes
  • Non prescription glasses i.e. sunglasses      
  • See-through tops
  • Ripped Jeans
  • Low cut revealing tops            
  • Crop tops revealing the navel area        
  • Male vests of any kind                          
  • Items of clothing that display offensive abusive or insulting words or gestures 
  • Mini or very short skirts/dresses unless worn with leggings
  • Shorts which are hot pant length - all shorts must be mid thigh to knee length

Due to the diversity of attire available the staff in visits will at all times use their discretion when faced with inappropriate dress but will in all cases make their decisions and judgements based on decency. You may be asked to adjust clothing or wear alternative clothing if available. As a last resort your visit may be cancelled if the dress code cannot be adhered to.

The Main Gate: This is a wooden door at the front of the prison. Having enrolled onto the biometric system in the visitor centre you will make your way to the gate. You will then be directed to the Visits Area where you will be searched. You can at this time handover or receive any property that has been arranged for previously. Once this is complete you will be allowed into the main visits hall.

Official visits

Mon-Wesds: 09:30-10:30,    10:45-11:45,   13:45-14:45,    15:00-16:00,    16:15-17:00
Thurs: 13:45-14:45,    15:00-16:00,    16:15-17:00
Fri: 09:15-11:15,    13:45-14:45,    15:00-16:00,    16:15-17:00

Booking information: Official/Legal visits must be pre-booked by either fax 020 7023 7003 or via email on legalvisits.pentonville@hmps.gsi.gov.uk Monday to Friday 08:15 - 17:00.

Please note there is no telephone booking facility for legal visits available at this time.

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.

How to get there: HMP Pentonville is situated in North London.

  • Bus: There are bus stops on both sides of the road outside Pentonville. Routes 17, 19, 259 and 274 all stop here.
  • Train: If you are coming to London by train, Kings Cross is the nearest main line station. You can then catch the northbound tube on the Piccadilly line to Caledonian Road. Caledonian and Barnsbury Overground Station is on the Richmond and Stratford line. When you leave the station, turn right and Pentonville is about 5 minutes walk on the same side of the road.
  • If you are visiting by car, parking around the prison is restricted, and visitors are not allowed to park on prison property.
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