Visitor Information

Maintaining contact with family and friends is important to everyone in HMP Dovegate. Key information on visiting times, procedures and policy available here.

Legal Visits – not currently available due to COVID-19

Social visits

Revised times and restrictions in response to Covid-19

Main Prison: Monday - Sunday / Bank Holidays
Therapeutic Community: Monday & Thursday

  • 09:00 - 10:00
  • 10:30 - 11:30
  • 13:30 - 14:30
  • ‚Äč15:00 - 16:00

Changes to normal visits:

  • No Refreshments will be available.
  • 2 metre social distancing rules will apply.
  • No direct contact will be permitted.
  • Face coverings will need to be worn at all times.

Please make sure you are fully aware of what to expect when visiting since the restrictions have been put in place in response to Covid-19.

How to book a visit?

Book a visit via or call the booking number: 0800 496 1406.

When booking a visit please include residents’ details, date and time of visit and visitors’ details.

Arriving for visits

Visitors should arrive 30 minutes prior to their allocated visit is time to allow processing, failure to do so will mean you will be denied entry.

Visitors must give notice of a visit 48 hours before.

What identification is needed?

On your first visit you must bring with you a copy of a proof of address and photo ID.  On every visit afterwards photo ID must be produced or two forms of ID (in the event of ID systems failure, you will not be permitted to enter the prison unless you can provide photographic ID).

All visitors to prisons, other than accompanied children under the age of 18 are required to prove their identity at the visits centre.

Visitors may identify themselves using one of the following:

  • Passport, including foreign passport, and time expired passports where the photograph is still recognisable.
  • C identity card
  • Driving license
  • Benefits book
  • Senior Citizens public transport photo issued by local authority
  • Employers or student card ID card but only if this clearly shows the name of the visitor and the employer or educational establishment, and has a photo which can be compared with the visitor’s appearance.

If a visitor is unable to produce one of the above, staff may accept combinations of two or more of the following:

  • Birth / marriage certificate
  • Rail / bus pass (with photo)
  • Rent book
  • Chequebook
  • Credit / debit card
  • Employers / student ID card (no photo)
  • Young person’s proof of age card
  • Library card (with signature)
  • Foreign ID / residents card

Once identified, all visitors will sign a declaration to indicate that they will not bring any unauthorised articles into the prison as detailed in the Criminal Justice Act 1967 / the Offender Management Act 2007.


What security measures will visitors experience?

All visitors will be subject to searching, and drugs detection dogs are in use. All adult visitors will have their biometric (photo and fingerprint) information captured. This is removed periodically once a visitor has not been for a period of time.

Visits policy

Maintaining contact with family and friends is important to everyone in HMP Dovegate. It is important that visits are carried out in a respectful manner and therefore ask that prisoners and visitors adhere to the following rules:

  • Prisoners and Visitors will not behave in a threatening, abusive or disrespectful manner.
  • If you appear under the influence of alcohol or any illicit substance you may be offered a closed visit or denied entry to the visits hall.
  • Children must be supervised by the person who has brought them to the visit including when playing in the children’s play areas. Children must remain at the allocated table or play area and must not walk / run around the hall.
  • Each visit will be allocated a table.  Prisoners and visitors will remain at that table and not wonder around the hall, unless the visitor wishes to purchase refreshments from the cafe area.
  • Prisoners and Visitors will comply with instructions from staff and leave quickly and quietly when asked to do so. At the end of the visit, visitors are to remain seated until the prisoner that they are visiting has left the hall.
  • Please be respectful to the next visitors and clear your table of any rubbish using the bins provided.
  • You may greet the prisoner with a kiss and a kiss goodbye but must be done in a manner that is not offensive to others. Physical contact is not permitted throughout the visit, except for holding hands.
  • Hands must be visible at all times.
  • Ponchos, scarfs and blankets must be left in the outside bungalow.

Violations of any of these rules may lead to the visit being terminated and a restriction on future visits.

Prisoners are reminded that they may be charged under the Prison Rules; and visitors are reminded that some violations may be an offence under the Prisons Act 1952.

Appropriate clothing

All visitors at HMP Dovegate must be appropriately dressed at all times. Failure to comply will result in you being refused entry to the establishment. This is by no means a complete list and is reviewed regularly. 

  • All visitors wearing trousers will be asked to turn out their pockets if the pockets are removed or have holes in them the visitor will be asked to either go back to the visits bungalow and change or offered a closed visit.
  • No metal hair clips or grips to be worn.
  • No pins / badges.
  • For decency purposes ladies bras / camisoles are not to be worn as an external top. Dresses / tops must not be strapless.
  • Ladies tops must not be see through and must cover both the breast and midriff area. In addition, cleavage must be appropriately covered so as not to offend.
  • Skirts and shorts must be of knee length.
  • Only 1 pair of trousers to be worn.
  • No ripped jeans.
  • No football shirts to be worn in the hall.
  • Any clothing displaying inappropriate or offensive patterns / logos will not be permitted (for example cannabis leaves, racist logos, gang tags, or offensive language).
  • Sunglasses, hats and scarves are not permitted (with the exception of headwear worn for religious purposes).
  • Shoes / boots must not have steel toecaps or have sharp accessories (e.g. spikes)
  • No bikes clothing.

What can be taken into a visit?

  • No items may be given to prisoners or received from prisoner whilst in the visits area
  • Only food and beverages purchased from the visits café may be consumed in the hall. No external food/beverages may be brought in from outside unless it is a special dietary requirement.
  • You may bring up to £70 in paper money per table (not per person).
  • Baby milk and food must be in a sealed bottle / carton.
  • Baby blankets are only permitted for children under 12 months.
  • Nappies and baby wipes are provided.

If visitors are:-

  • Found in possession of any banned and unauthorised items;
  • Found passing them over to a prisoner;
  • Suspected of smuggling drugs or other unauthorised articles;

the police will be called and the visitor may be arrested. This could result in a prison sentence or being banned from visiting all prisons.

Penalties for taking items that are banned into prisons:

Conveyance of Prohibited Items and Other Related Offences

Amendments to the Prison Act came into force in April 2008 which make it a criminal offence for certain items to be used, brought into or taken out of prisons. It is a criminal offence for any person without authority:

i. to bring or throw any of the following items in or out of a prison or to cause another person to do so, to leave any of the following items in any place (in or out of the prison) intending it to come into the possession of a prisoner or to give to a prisoner any of the following items:

  • A controlled drug, an explosive a firearm or other offensive weapon.
    Maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.
  • Alcohol, a mobile telephone, a camera or a sound-recording device including watch with recording and camera facilities.
    Maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.
  • Tobacco, money, clothing, food, drink, letters, papers, books, tools, IT equipment and associated peripherals. 
    Maximum penalty is a £1000 fine.
  • It is an offence to take a photograph or make a sound recording within a prison or convey an official document or photograph or personal file in or out of a prison, or transmit any image, sound or information electronically from within a prison for simultaneous reception outside a prison.
    Maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.

Criminal prosecutions will be pursued against those found to be in deliberate breach of the above provisions. Criminal prosecutions will be pursued against those found to be in breach of the above Prison Act 2008 provisions.

New Psychoactive Substances:

Many of these substances are not legal and anyone found in possession or observed passing these substances will be subject to Criminal Prosecutions being pursued.

Can money be taken in for a prisoner?

Visitors cannot give money to a prisoner during visits but they can send money to a prisoner’s account:

  • Send money by debit card, you will need the prisoner number and their date of birth. Go to (opens in a new window).
  • We also accept money through Secure Payment Services.
  • As a cheque (subject to 10 working days for clearance)
  • As a postal order

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to “Serco Limited” with the senders name and address clearly written on the back of the cheque or postal order, along with the prisoners name and number.