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Visitors' information guide to HMP Holme House

Visits to prisoners play a vital role in strengthening links with families and friends as well as assisting prisoners’ resettlement and eventual reintegration into society. Our aim is to allow visits to last as long as possible within the visiting period, taking into account the need to maintain operational procedures within the establishment. On induction, prisoners are issued with full details regarding the booking and receiving of visits.

About HMP Holme House

Getting to the prison

Acceptable indentification

Booking a domestic visit

Special visiting orders

Visitors centre information

Closed visits

Accumulated visits

Children

Reception visits

Remand prisoners

Convicted prisoners

Visiting times

Visiting orders

Canteen facilities

Toilet facilities

Behaviour on visits

Items allowed on visit

Being searched

Bringing property for prisoners

Allocation of tables (visitors centre)

Checking identity at the portal

Baby changing / Breast feeding

HMP Holme House
HMP Holme House


Contact details

HMP Holme House
Holme House Road
Stockton on Tees
TS18 2QU

Map of HMP Holme House location


Telephone numbers

  • Visitors centre: 01642 744080
  • Booked visits: 01642 744282
  • Main telephone: 01642 744000


Information on other websites

Citizens Advice information on financial help with visits

Accommodation details on the local authority website

Getting to the prison

By road

The prison is well signposted off the A1046 and is situated behind Woolworths Superstore.

By public transport

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Acceptable identification

The following list of acceptable forms of identification has been effective since 1 June 2005

or two or more items from different sections listed below:

No Longer Acceptable:- Rail / bus pass with photograph, Employers ID, Allowance books / Post Office allowance payment cards, Annual public transport season tickets

NB. ‘Letters’ are not acceptable!

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Booking a domestic visit

To book a domestic visit ring the Visits Booking Clerk on Tel: 01642 744282, between the hours of 08.30 and 16.30 Monday to Friday (closed one hour for lunch) or by using the free direct line in the Visitors’ Centre.

When booking a visit you will be asked for the prisoners’ name and number (if number is unknown then the prisoners name and date of birth will be required). You will be asked the date of visit and time i.e. morning, afternoon or evening visit. A list of all visitors’ names will also be required.

The Booking Clerk will give you a reference number, this number should be written on the top section of the VO. The reference number will also confirm a Morning, Afternoon or Evening visit (i.e. QA3, A = Morning (am) visit, QP3, P = afternoon (pm) visit and QE3, E = Evening (eve) visit).

Without this reference number a visit cannot be cancelled or a visitors name amended.

Visits must be booked at least 24 hours in advance, but no more than 6 days.  To amend a visitors name at least 24 hours notice in advance must be given.

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Special visiting orders

Special Visiting Orders may be granted for reasons such as a death in the family or a similar matter requiring an urgent visit. Such visits are at the discretion of the Governor.

Except for a Reception Visit within 72 hours, or urgent visits approved by the Duty Governor, all visitors to prisoners must be pre-booked, whether their visit is domestic or professional.

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Visitors' centre

There is a Visitors’ Centre outside the prison with toilets, baby changing facilities, telephone, refreshments etc. It is organised by an independent voluntary organisation - The Holme House Visitors’ Centre Society.

All visitors should register at the Visitors’ Centre on arrival.

Confidentiality

The staff within the Visitors’ Centre are committed to a policy of confidentiality and are always available if there are any concerns.

Anti-bullying

The prison is committed to an anti-bullying policy. If you have any concerns the Visitors’ Centre staff will be pleased to give you further information. Total discretion will be assured at all times.

Drug awareness

H.M.P. Holme House operates a stringent drugs awareness programme and staff in the prison and the Visitors’ Centre will be pleased to give you support and guidance should you have any concerns.

Wheelchair access

There is a wheelchair access and a wheelchair is available from the Visitors’ Centre for the use of visitors.

Assisted prison visits

Visitors on a low income or receiving certain benefits may be able to claim help with travelling expenses.  Information is available at the Visitors’ Centre.

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Closed visits

All Closed Visits are of maximum one hour duration. They take place in a closed room with a partition of glass / plastic between both prisoner and visitors so that no physical contact is possible. Closed Visits must be authorised by a Governor. Closed Visits conditions are normally in place for a three month period, but all prisoners under Closed Visits condition are reviewed monthly.

Prisoner / visitors may be placed on Closed Visits for the following reasons:  

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Accumulated visits

Where a convicted prisoner is located in a prison that is some distance away from family and friends, making regular visits can be difficult and a transfer is not always possible. Accumulated Visits may be applied for after 6 months. This entails transferring the prisoner to an establishment near the person’s family for a 28 day period. (This is not always possible for operational or security reasons but every effort will be made to accommodate this move).

The prisoner may save up all their Visiting Orders, up to a maximum of 26, and use them all within the establishment. This process may be repeated every 6 months. The prisoner on Accumulated Visits will have to abide by the visiting rules and regulations of the receiving establishment.

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Children

Child protection measures

Prisoners identified as presenting a risk to children may be permitted to receive visits only from their own children and siblings. Own children are defined for these purposes as prisoners’ legitimate and natural children and the children of the prisoners’ partner, provided the prisoner and partner were residing together prior to imprisonment.

Under exceptional circumstances, where the Governor believes that it is in the best interest of the child (after consultation with the relevant Child Protection Agencies), child visits may be prohibited.

Children on visits

Visits to prisoners play a vital role in strengthening links with families. Children are therefore encouraged to attend visits (when they can, without interfering with their schooling). Children should be sat with the adult supervising them at their allocated table.

To prevent accidents / injury, children must not be allowed to run around the visits hall at any time. Family-learning (special) visits are available through application to Education; approval required by security.

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Reception visits

New Receptions into HMP Holme House and those changing status from Remand to Convicted are entitled to receive a Reception visit within the first 72 hours. The Reception visit does not require a pre-booking but must be within the specified visiting hours.

Relevant identification must be produced for all visitors over the age of 18 (see Acceptable Forms of Identification section) or entrance to the prison can be denied.  If insufficient Identification is produced the Senior Officer of Visits may permit a Closed Visit.

Reception Visits may be restricted to half an hour depending on the number of visits already booked.

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Remand prisoners

Remand prisoners are entitled up to three visits per week. Remand visits do not require a Visiting Order (VO) but the appropriate form must be completed in the Visitors’ Centre.  These visits can take place at any time during the published visiting hours, but only one may take place at weekends.

All visits must be booked in advance.

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Convicted prisoners

Convicted prisoners are entitled to one visit per week using a Visiting Order (VO). Visiting Orders are valid for 28 days. Only one VO may be used during any one weekend, otherwise they may be used during any time (whilst valid) during the published visiting hours. Convicted prisoners will only be allowed a visit from the persons named on the valid Visiting Order, issued in advance.

Regime levelEntitlement
BasicOne hour only
StandardFull session – minimum half hour
EnhancedFull session – minimum half hour

NB: Please be aware of the regulations for closed visits.

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Visiting times

DayMorningAfternoonEvening
MondayNo visits1.30 - 3.45No visits
TuesdayNo visits1.30 - 3.455.45 - 7.15
WednesdayNo visits1.30 - 3.45No visits
ThursdayNo visits1.30 - 3.455.45 - 7.15
FridayNo visits1.30 - 3.45No visits
Saturday8.30 - 11.301.30 - 4.30No visits
Sunday8.30 - 11.301.30 - 4.30No visits

NB.  The last visit must commence no later than 35 minutes before the end of the visiting session:

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Visiting orders

Visiting Orders (VOs) are issued to convicted prisoners and must carry the following details, otherwise the VO will be deemed invalid:

Convicted prisoners originate their VO by completing the above details. Correspondence will complete the VO number and validation date.  Any unfilled spaces will be voided. It is not permitted to alter, add or change names on the VO after issue. If this is the case the VO must be returned to the Correspondence Department for reissuing.

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Canteen facilities

Canteen facilities are provided in the Visitors’ Centre, which is staffed by volunteers. Any profits made are used to purchase stationery and equipment for the area, along with covering the expenses of the volunteer workers. N.E.P.A.C.S. volunteers provide canteen facilities in the Main Visits Hall and any profits are used in a variety of ways to help and assist prisoners and their families.

Both facilities provide a wide selection of hot drinks and soups, cold drinks, chocolates, biscuits etc. plus vending machines dispensing refreshments and confectionery. NB: some items provided by the Visitors’ Centre canteen may (for security reasons) not be available in the Main Visits Hall’s canteen.

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Toilet facilities

Toilet facilities are available at the Visitors’ Centre and in the Main Visits area. Where possible, it is required that all visitors and children make full use of toilet facilities in the Visitors’ Centre prior to coming across to the Main Visits area.

The toilets in the Main Visits area are kept locked and require staff to escort anyone using these facilities. Except for emergencies (which will be dealt with immediately) there may be a slight delay in being able to use the toilet facility, for operation / security reasons.

Children (anyone under 18) requiring the toilet must be escorted by an adult for child protection reasons.

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Behaviour on visits

Visitors and prisoners are reminded of the standards of behaviour required on visits. Indecent or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated and as a result your visit may be terminated and you could be placed on Closed Visits or banned from the establishment.

This is a family environment so you are therefore asked to behave in a responsible and decent manner for your visit.

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Items allowed on visit

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Searching

All visitors are subject to search procedures that include a rub down search and metal detector screening. Visitors will be asked to remove all outer clothing (i.e. coats, jumpers, boots and shoes) to be searched using an X-ray scanner. Hats/caps, scarves and gloves are not allowed into the prison (other than headgear worn for recognised religious purposes).

Only Female staff will search female visitors and children under 10 years old. Children will only be searched whilst in full view of their parent or guardian. Staff of either gender can search male visitors.

Once identification and search procedures have been completed at the Portal, you will be directed towards the Main Visits Hall. Prior to entering this area you may be subject to another search involving a Drug Detection Dog.

Whilst on prison premises you may be required to undergo additional searches, at any time, including strip search.

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Property / supplies for prisoners

A list of items that may either be handed in or posted in to the prison is available from the Visitors’ Centre. NB: Prisoners must apply at least 48 hours in advance to have any property handed in or out.

Property (pre-arranged only, by application) to come in on the visit will be checked / searched and logged onto the prisoners property card. No property will be accepted without prior application and the property card being present.

At the end of the visits session property will be taken to Reception and placed in the prisoner property box ready for issue. There is currently no facility for accepting property on the evening visits sessions.

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Visitors' centre / allocation of tables

On arriving at H.M.P. Holme House, all domestic visitors must attend the Visitors’ Centre to present their VO or complete a Remand Visits Slip. Visitors’ Centre staff will log visitors in and give them a numbered tally to confirm their place in the queue.

All seating in the Main Visits Hall is allocated prior to arrival to minimise delay. The VO will be endorsed with the table number allocated. Reception visits will be allocated seating by the Desk Officers on arrival to the Main Visits Hall.

NB. Visitors must only sit at the table allocated to them

Visitors’ Centre staff will inform the Senior Officer of Visits which visitors have arrived. Visitors’ Centre staff will be able to assist with any queries and can provide details concerning all aspects of the visits procedures, including information about the Assisted Prison Visits Scheme.

When called, the Visitors’ Centre Staff will send over visitors in small groups to the Gate / Portal Area, where searching will take place.

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Portal

Portal Staff will check visitors’ identity using the Biometric Identity System, unless it is their first visit, when their identity will be verified manually and details plus a photograph put on to the system. Male visitors will have the back of their hand stamped with an ultraviolet mark comprising of 3 letters (changing after every session).

Visitors who fail to provide acceptable identification or refuse to comply with the requirements of either biometric identity system or search procedure will be refused entry to the prison.

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Baby changing / Breast feeding

Nappy changing facilities (annex to the female toilets) are available on request. All necessary items are available including nappies, wipes etc. Breast-feeding is not permitted within the Main Visits Hall.

Anyone using either toilet or baby changing facility will be subject to a rub down search and be rechecked by the Drugs Detection Dog (if in operation) before being allowed to resume their visit. Children aged 10 years and under will be searched by a female Officer. Children aged 11 and over will be searched by an Officer of the child’s gender.

At no time will a child be searched other than in the presence of a responsible adult. NB: The words children and child relates to those under 18 years of age.

If an unauthorised item is found, or the Drugs Detection Dog gives a positive indication, the visit will be terminated.

It is an offence for a visitor to bring any unauthorised item in on a visit: this includes letters, tobacco and money. Any person found in possession, or suspected of being in possession, of drugs or weapons of any sort, will be detained / arrested by staff and the police will be called. If drugs are found you will be charged with possession with the intent to supply.

NB: All Prison Officers carry the powers of a Constable and therefore powers of arrest under Prison Act 1952.

Last updated September 2006


Citizens Advice