Our response to Covid-19

This page aims to provide contact information for prisoners’ families at all Serco managed prisons in the UK. It will also be continuously updated to provide information on how we are managing Covid-19 including activities that help to safeguard prisoners’ health and wellbeing.

Notice to families

As you will be aware, the outbreak of coronavirus has grown across the country with the new strain of the virus and the government has implemented a period of national restrictions to slow the spread across the country.

Because of this, further changes have been made to the regimes in prisons in the UK.

As a result, visits are currently suspended in the adult estate in England and Scotland in line with the National Lockdown.  This includes all six Serco managed prisons.

Our plan, guided by Public Health England, is based at every stage on three core objectives:

  • Preservation of life
  • Maintaining security, stability and safety
  • Providing sufficient capacity

All restrictions to the prison regime will be reviewed regularly, with restrictions either being eased or heightened depending on the current situation. 

What safety measures will be in place?

  • We will continue to ensure that everyone adheres to the infection control measures such as hand hygiene, use of face coverings and PPE and following social distance requirements.
  • We are also ensuring that the environment is kept clean and has good ventilation.
  • Our focus will be on the welfare of prisoners during this time. We will continue key work and wellbeing checks and essential work will continue in closed prisons and in the community for open prisons. 
  • We operate a test and trace system, supported by access to staff swabbing programs. Staff and prisoners at HMP Kilmarnock, are given access to a test if they are symptomatic. 

How will prison regime be affected?

  • All PE in indoor areas is currently suspended. To supplement this, in-cell workout guides have been provided to prisoners.
  • Non-essential work is currently suspended. 
  • Essential work, which includes kitchen work, NHS, cleaning and Prisoner Advice Line (PAL) will continue but with an increased emphasis on hygiene, social distancing and safety.
  • Education will continue to be provided through in-cell learning packs where prisoners can complete their courses remotely.
  • Religious services will be carried out remotely via prison TV and radio channels.


Prisoner Friends & Families Contact Methods:

Here is a list of alternative options on how prisoners can be contacted by friends & family.

  1. Video Visits, using Purple Visits at prisons in England and Unilink at HMP Kilmarnock, Scotland are now available, and friends and families are now able to book video calls. If you have a friend or family member currently residing in HMPs Ashfield, Dovegate, Doncaster, Lowdham Grange or Thameside go to Purple Visits’ website. If they are residing in HMP Kilmarnock in Scotland go to Unilink’s website
  2. Email a prisoner - You can send email messages to prisoners using email a prisoner.
  3. Phone - Prisoners are given 10-minutes of free phone credit each day on top of their prison phone credit, which they can use to call their friends and family.

Prisoner Enrichment Hub

A workout routine

In Cell Workout

We all know that exercising is good for your overall wellbeing. So in order to assist with keep fit LJ Flanders kindly allowed us to make paper copies of his In Cell Work Out so that anyone who wanted to have a structured work out plan could do so. In Cell uses body weight as a resistance training method, no equipment is required and the workout can be completed in a room. The programme is over ten weeks however it can be dipped into for certain specific areas. All of the workouts can be adapted to suit the individual’s needs or abilities. There are also relaxation and meditation sessions to help calm and focus the mind.

Pages of quizzes and puzzles

Puzzles, Sudoku, word searches, Quizzes and more

From improving memory and better problem-solving skills to improved mood and lowering stress levels. People love a puzzle, so we have been printing out puzzles of all levels and themes to help pass the time in a constructive way. There have been wing quizzes with prizes, everything from ‘Name that flag’ to music and general knowledge rounds. A fun way to test your knowledge and enhance it. In addition, colouring packs for mindfulness activity have been very popular, plenty of rainbows have made it on to walls and windows!  

A poem

Creative writing

With thanks to Rowan at Shakespeare UnBard who each week sent three packs in with different ability levels so there were no barriers for anyone wanting to join in. All the greats from Shakespeare were covered from Romeo & Juliet to A Midsummers Dream. The pack invited the reader to take part in reflective thinking, designing and alternative endings. Alongside this creative offering was Arabella at Kestrel Theatre Company who each week provided creative writing packs in the form of playwriting and drama resources from fun sketches to full length dramas. Lots to keep the creative vibe strong.

Quote from prisoner saying: Always takes the time to listen to me

Feedback from prisoners

Here is some of the feedback from those who took part in the in-cell enrichment activities:

“Thanks for keeping me busy”

“Thanks to the staff for their hard work, these activities have been essential to making our tie in lockdown as stress free as possible”

“For giving us the resources we need – thanks”

“Everyone is going the extra mile and I know it’s really as stressful for them too at the moment – thanks”

“All of them have worked hard to keep us safe – special thanks you for the ‘goodie bags’ (sweets and chocolate)”

“Staff putting their lives at risk every day – how can we say thank you in words”

“To the staff that have gone beyond their job description to take time to put together the activities for everyone – thank you.”

Contact details of our establishments:

HMP Ashfield

  • Main Switchboard Phoneline: 0117 303 8000
  • Address: Shortwood Road, Pucklechurch, Bristol, BS16 9QJ
  • Twitter: @HMPAshfield
  • Website


HMP Doncaster

  • Main Switchboard Phoneline: 01302 760870
  • Address: HMP & YOI Doncaster, Marshgate, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN5 8UX
  • Twitter: @HMPdoncaster
  • Website

HMP Dovegate

  • Main Switchboard Phoneline: 01283 829400
  • Address: HMP Dovegate, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, ST14 8XR
  • Twitter: @HMPdovegate
  • Website

HMP Lowdham Grange

HMP Thameside

HMP Kilmarnock

  • Main Switchboard Phoneline: 01563 548 800
  • Address: H M Prison Kilmarnock, Mauchline Road, Kilmarnock, KA1 5AA
  • Twitter: @HMP_Kilmarnock
  • Website

Other useful links:

Websites with information and guidance for friends, families and significant others of those in prisons