Please note: Face to face social visits have resumed at this prison. You can find updated information on timeshow to book, and what to expect below. Purple Visits video calls are available. You can also take a look at other ways to keep in touch.

If you need support:

You can contact the Pact Family Workers at HMP Pentonville directly by filling in this form. You can also email the team at HMP Pentonville directly by emailing [email protected]or calling 02070237219.

For more information, support and advice on all aspects of the justice system, you can contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 (9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm at the weekend).

See some information that needs updating?

If you notice anything that is incorrect on this page, please contact us on [email protected] Any further information can be found on the prison website at or you can ring the main switchboard on 020 7023 7000.



HMP Pentonville

Caledonian Road



Governor: Ian Blakeman

Pact Worker Contact: You can contact Pact at this prison by emailing [email protected] or by completing this contact form.

Visitors’ Centre Telephone Number: 020 7023 7219

Visiting Times: (as of 28th of October 2021)


-PM first session: 13:45-14:40pm

-PM second session: 15:20-16:15pm


-PM first session: 13:45-14:40pm

-PM second session: 15:20-16:15pm


-PM first session: 13:45-14:40pm

-PM second session: 15:20-16:15pm


-PM first session: 13:45-14:40pm

-PM second session: 15:20-16:15pm


-PM first session: 13:45-14:40pm

-PM second session: 15:20-16:15pm





In addition, HMP Pentonville are operating a visits timetable to make sure that all prisoners have access to visits. 

*Please not that this information is being periodically reviewed by HMP Pentonville and is subject to change. We will update this Visitors' Guide as soon as possible with any changes.

Booking a visit:

HMP Pentonville is now offering visits for family and significant others in line with stage 3 of the National Framework for Prisons.

Booking line: 0300 060 6504

Opening time: 09:15 am - 16:00 pm (Monday to Friday)

To book your visit

For the time being many prisons are only accepting visits booked by phone and not online.

Telephone: 0300 060 6504 (Monday - Friday 09:15 - 16:00)


Email:  [email protected]

All visits must be booked in advance. Only those visitors whose details have been listed on the Prisoner’s Authorisation Contact List (as provided by the prisoner) and those whom are named on the booking will be allowed entry into the prison.  Please note: prison staff cannot add visitor(s) to a Prisoner’s Authorisation Contact List without the consent and authorisation of a prisoner.

Adults and children must all have Identification; for more information regarding Identification, please see Identification Policy below.

Who can visit?

Visits will only be allowed by people who are symptom free, who have not been asked to self-isolate and who have not recently come into contact with anyone who has symptoms or is self-isolating.

Visits will prioritise re-establishing face-to-face contact with close family members (or significant others) This may comprise of one of the following grouping combinations only:


A single adult (aged 18 or over) who must be a partner, parent, foster-parent, grandparent, carer, or significant other




Two adults (aged 18 or over): who must be two parents, two foster parents, two grandparents, two adult immediate relatives or significant other, or a mixture of these (e.g. a parent and a grandparent)


A single adult (aged 18 or over):  who must be a partner, parent, foster-parent, grandparent, carer or adult close relative or significant other




up to two dependent children (e.g. son, daughter) of the person being visited


Two adults (aged 18 or over): who must be two parents, two foster parents, two grandparents, two adult immediate relatives or significant other1, or a mixture of these (e.g. a parent and a grandparent);



one dependent child (e.g. son, daughter) of the person being visited


At your visit

In order to keep visitors, residents and staff as safe as possible, there will be a number of new rules and guidelines which have been put in place by the prison service. Download our quick guide to help you with what to expect at your visit.

On May 17, 2021, HMP Pentonville resumed social visits. This means that your close family members and significant others can book social visit to allow face to face visit.

It is extremely crucial that we maintain social distancing rules to ensure visits take place in safe environment. Maintaining good habits which minimise transmission will therefore be important.

All visits are contact free. Throughout your entire journey, you will need to follow all safety procedures. To this end, the Social visit hall capacity has been reduced to enable us all to adhere to social distancing rules.

1. Visitors will only be allowed if they are symptom free and have not been asked to self-isolate.

2. Temperature checks will be carried out upon arrival at the visits centre. Anyone with a temperature over 37.7 or showing symptoms of having coronavirus will not be allowed to visit and asked to contact 111.

3. Your visit will be for one hour.

4. It is compulsory to wear masks throughout your visit. These will be made available to visitors on arrival to the prison

5. There will be hand sanitizing stations on entry and exit to the hall and both visitors and prisoners will be encouraged to use them.

6. There will be no access to refreshments whilst on social/official visits at this stage.

7. All visitors & prisoners are to remain at their assigned tables for the entire visit.

8. Anyone under the age of 18 needs to come with written, signed and dated permission from their parent or guardian. Anyone under the age of 18 who comes with a parent or guardian needs to bring proof of relationship, for example a birth certificate.

9. At the end of the visits session, visitors will leave the visits hall in a controlled manner (a table at a time).

10. There will be no refreshments available in the initial weeks when visits resumes, as part of national guidance.

11. All Social Visits will take place in the afternoon – Monday to Friday.

A time table will be made available to you with the new schedule for Social Visits. Visits will be on a wing by wing basis based on the feedback from last summer. All Social Visits will take place in the afternoon – Monday to Friday.

NOTICE: As of 28th May 2021 there have been changes to rules around physical contact during visits and on the number of households who can visit someone in prison. 

Physical contact

Children aged 11 and under will now be allowed to hug the loved one they are visiting in prison. There are no restrictions to the contact children under 11 can have, if it is in line with the prison’s normal rules. Children can leave their seat but will need to stay in the area marked out during the visit.

From 22nd July 2021, prisons in England and Wales can begin to allow visitors who test negative for Covid-19 to have physical contact with the person they are visiting. 

In order to have physical contact, you will be required to show a negative Covid-19 test result for a test taken on the day of your visit. The testing is voluntary, but it will help prisons identify potential cases of Covid-19 before they come into the prison and therefore reduce the chances of reducing prison regimes in the future. 

Visitors who choose to be tested will do so when they arrive at the prison, or alternatively, can take a test in the community or at home on the day of their visit. Visitors who take a test at home must provide evidence of their negative test result. If you test negative, you will be allowed physical contact with the person you are visiting. Each prison will decide individually what physical contact is allowed, based on pre-Covid-19 visiting policies, so physical contact may differ from prison to prison.

If you test positive for Covid-19, your visit will be postponed. You will be able to rebook after your isolation period. Visitors will be given information on where to get help and support.

To protect prisons, visitors are encouraged to access the widely available twice weekly rapid testing in the community. 

You can read more about testing to physical contact here:

Expansion of visits

Visitors from two households can now visit a person in prison at the same time. You can find out the maximum number of visitors allowed on a visit by contacting the prison directly. Adults and children who are over 11 must continue follow social distancing rules from the person you are visiting in prison.

For more information

You can view the updated guidance here.

Family Support from Pact

Pact family support will be available by email and you can access this by contacting [email protected]. If your issue is complex and you need to talk to us in person, please include your number in the email and tell us that you would like a call back - it would also be helpful if you could let us know whether we are able to leave a message if there is no answer - and we will aim to get back to you as soon as we possibly can. If you have urgent concerns about the welfare of your loved one in prison, please call the prison Safer Custody line directly.

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline for advice and support on all aspects of the criminal justice system:

  • Call 0808 808 2003 (9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm at the weekend)
  • Email the team on [email protected]

Other ways to keep in touch


To speak to a prisoner on the phone, the prisoner has to call you using a prison phone.

Prison staff can listen to and record most types of call. Some calls are not monitored, for example when a prisoner calls a legal advisor.


Letters to prisoners should be addressed to: 

HMP Pentonville

Caledonian Road

London, N78TT

(Prisoners name and prison number)

You must write your own name and address on the back of the envelope or it will not be delivered to the prisoner.

If you do not know the prisoners’ prison number, please address the envelope as above with the prisoner’s date of birth next to his name.


Pentonville uses a service called Email a Prisoner, which can be accessed here.

Through this service, family and friends can send a message which is printed out and delivered by prison staff by hand. Once you have signed up, you will receive an activation link via email which you must click on in order to activate your account and send a message. You must buy a minimum of £5 credit in order to use the service, which runs at a cost of 40p per email and at no charge to the recipient.


Family members and friends can sign up to Prison Voicemail, a service which allows social contacts to exchange voicemails with prisoners.

On signing up, you will be given a unique local landline number you can call at any time to leave a message; this message will be instantly available for your loved one to listen to. Prisoners can check their messages by dialling the same unique number from any phone in the prison and may leave a reply. When the message has been heard, the family member receives an instant text notification, signalling they may leave another message.

In order to access messages, the prisoner pays the cost of a landline call, but the cost of the service itself is paid by the family or friend.

Plans start from £5 per month.

Security checks

You may be required to have your finger or thumb prints scanned as part of a security check. You may also have an iris scan.

Sometimes you will be sniffed by security dogs. Make sure you wear clothes that are not contaminated by any form of drug as you will be returned to the Visitors’ Centre and will not be able to have your visit. You may also be searched by a prison officer (of the same gender).

During your visit, officers will be with you throughout and will open and lock doors in front of and behind you at all stages.

Identification Policy

You will need to bring one or more forms of identification with you to all your prison visits. You must ensure that you bring proof of address, this will need to match up with what is on the visits list

If you have photographic identification (ID with your name and picture on - for example a driving licence) then you will only need to show this one form of ID. However, if you have a passport then you will also need to bring a proof of address. You can find a list of acceptable types of photographic ID in List A below

If you do not have photographic identification, you will need to show two different forms of ID before you are allowed to visit. You can find a list of the acceptable forms of non-photographic ID in List B and List C below. 


List A: Acceptable types of photographic ID

You can use any one of the following documents with your photograph on (just make sure it includes your address or bring along a separate document to prove this):

 If you aren't able to provide one of the ID documents listed above, you will need to provide two different forms of ID – one from List B and one from List C.

If you don’t have photographic ID you must provide one of the following ID documents:

 List B

  • A Home Office travel document (convention travel document, stateless person's document, one-way document or a certificate of travel).
  • An older person's bus pass.
  • Freedom Pass.
  • Proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS)without a unique reference number.


In addition to one of the above documents, you will also need to provide one of the items from the following list:

 List C

  • Your birth or adoption certificate.
  • An education certificate from a regulated and recognised educational institution (such as an NVQ, SQA, GCSE, A Level or degree certificate)
  • A rental or purchase agreement for a residential property (signed and dated).
  • Your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
  • A bank, building society or credit union current account card (which has your name on it).

 Any combination of the above documents should be accepted, but you will need one from List B and one from List C.

Children’s Identification Policy

If your child is under one year old, you will need to provide their Personal Child Health Record (also known as the PCHR or 'red book') or birth certificate.

If your child is under 14 years, the full birth certificate will be required.

Children between the ages of 14 to 17 years need their full birth certificate plus photo ID, e.g. a student card or photo oyster card.

Children under 18 years, who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, must bring a consent letter. 

Dress code

Please note, there will be extra restrictions in place during the Covid pandemic, including visitors being required to wear face masks during visits.

The following items of clothing are not permitted on social visits:

  • hats, scarves or any head covering other than for religious purpose,
  • jackets, coats or hoodies,
  • crop, low cut or revealing tops,
  • any tops or jackets with pockets,
  • damaged or ripped clothing (including ripped jeans),
  • metal hair accessories,
  • non-prescription glasses i.e. sunglasses,
  • male vest or any football branded shirts, or items with logos,
  • items of clothing that display offensive or abusive words or gestures,
  • steel cap shoes and boots,
  • skirts, dresses or shorts above the knee
  • Footwear must have closed toes and backs. Flip-flops, sliders sandals are not acceptable.
  • No high heel shoes permitted.

If the clothing you are wearing does not meet the above criteria you will not be offered an alternative and entry will be refused.

What can I bring in for my children?

What can I bring in for my children?

Please note, some of these rules may have changed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please contact the prison to confirm.

The following items must be left at the top desk when entering the visits hall:

· a maximum of two babies’ bottles, which must be transparent to enable an effective search,

· two nappies,

· baby wipes,

· carry car seats are only permitted for babies under six months and the car seat is subject to a thorough search.

Food and drink

Please note, some of these rules may have changed during the Covid pandemic. Please contact the prison to confirm.

Refreshments are not currently available in the visits hall due to Covid restrictions.


How do I send money to a prisoner?

From 2nd November 2020 the way prisoners can send and receive money has changed. You can no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post to any prison. You’ll need to send money through the Money to Prisoners Portal using a debit card instead. 

The Money to Prisoners Portal service is free, secure and available in all prisons in England and Wales.

To get started on the Portal you will need the prisoner's date of birth and prisoner number.

If you cannot use the online service, you may be able to apply for an exemption - for example if you:

  • are unable to use a computer, a smart phone or the internet
  • do not have a debit card

You cannot give money to the prisoner during a visit.

Banned items

Do not attempt to bring any of the following into prison during your visit:

  • illegal drugs,
  • alcohol,
  • weapons,
  • a camera,
  • a mobile phone,
  • indecent or obscene material,
  • material that threatens the security of the prison,
  • material that is written in code.

If you are unsure what you can bring, contact the prison directly.

Financial Assistance for Visits

If you are on a low income or receive benefits you may be entitled to financial assistance for the cost of visiting your relative in prison. Help is provided by the Assisted Prison Visits Unit (APVU). Click here for more information.

Sending Property to a Prisoner

As of 31 July 2015, all property must be posted in; nothing can be handed in at the Prison. Prisoners need to send out a label to be used when sending parcels. Parcels without an HMP Pentonville label will be returned to the sender.

All prisoners are able to buy the items that they want and need through the approved suppliers, whose catalogues are available in the prison.

Any prisoner wishing to have property posted in must first make an application to Property Services in Reception; this means completing an application form. The application needs to include the details of all the property that he wishes to have posted in. Only once the application has been approved should the items be sent to the prisoner. Please note that any parcels received prior to the application being approved will be returned unopened. Photographs and postal orders must also always be posted in.

Only court clothes or books can be posted in without the need for an application being made first. Books can be sent via WHSmiths and ordered like you would normally for home delivery. For court clothes the parcel must be clearly marked as ‘court clothes’ and cannot contain any other additional items. Court clothes are defined as the following:

  • suit trousers or skirt,
  • shirt or blouse,
  • jacket,
  • tie,
  • shoes,
  • belt (no large buckles).

Should there be any additional items within the package, it will be returned, and nothing will be passed on to the prisoner. Please note that court clothes are held in reception until the prisoner is actually going to court. Lastly, jeans, t-shirts and trainers will not be accepted as court clothes. 

A printable version of this Visitors' Guide is available for download here: Pentonville

Further Information

If you are worried about your loved one while they are a resident at this prison, you can contact the Safer Custody team on 0207 023 7341 (answer machine monitored 7.30am-5.30pm daily).

You may be asked to leave a voicemail. Please make sure you include:

  • Your name.
  • The reason that you are calling.
  • The name of your family member/friend (and their prison number if you know it).
  • Your telephone number (so that the prison can call you back).

Please wait at least 24 hours for a call back before contacting the prison again.

If you have a non-urgent question or concern about your loved one while they are a resident at this prison, please contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 (from 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday).

This guide includes information that you may find useful for the duration of the time your family or friend is a resident at HMP Pentonville.