Risley Prison

Risley is a prison for men in Warrington, Cheshire, including men convicted of a sex offence.

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Book and plan your visit to Risley

Now that regular COVID testing of people in the wider community has ended, you are no longer required to take a COVID test before coming to see someone for a visit, although we would still encourage you to do so.

We will continue to run social visits whilst it is safe to do so.

Visiting rules may change if there is an outbreak within the prison, this may include bringing back testing before visits for a short time to protect you, the person you are visiting and staff.

If you are unable to visit someone in prison you can still keep in touch.

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003. You will not be able to book a visit using this number.

Each visitor party will be allocated a time to arrive at the visitor centre. Arrival times are staggered to allow for adequate social distancing. Visitors will be advised as to which sessions they can attend, based on where the prisoner is resident.

Each visitors group will be allowed to enter the prison with cash to the total value of £40.00 where a hot/cold menu will be available.

To visit someone in Risley you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

There may be a limit to the number of visits a person can have. You can check this with Risley.

Contact Risley if you have any questions about visiting.

Help with the cost of your visit

If you get certain benefits or have an NHS health certificate, you might be able to get help with the costs of your visit, including:

  • travel to Risley
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

Risley is running a limited visits schedule. Visits are also happening differently than normal, observing strict guidelines, which must be followed.

You can book your visit onlineby sending an email to

You can also book your visit by telephone. There is no online booking service available.

Booking Line: 01925 733284 or 01925 733285

The booking line is open Monday to Friday: 9am to 4pm

Visiting times:

  • Monday afternoon - A wing
  • Tuesday morning - B wing, F wing & CSU
  • Tuesday afternoon - C wing
  • Wednesday afternoon - D wing
  • Thursday morning - E wing
  • Thursday afternoon - G wing

Specific visiting times will be given upon booking. Visitors will be allocated a time to arrive at the Visitors Centre when they book their visit.

How to book legal and professional visits

Booking line: 01925 733284 or 01925 733285

Professional and legal visits can also be booked by sending an email to:

Visiting times:

  • Monday afternoon - A wing
  • Tuesday morning - B wing, F wing & CSU
  • Tuesday afternoon - C wing
  • Wednesday afternoon - D wing
  • Thursday morning - E wing
  • Thursday afternoon - G wing

Visitors will be allocated a time to arrive at the Visitors Centre when they book their visit.

Getting to Risley

Find Risley on a map

Risley is about 6 miles from Warrington Central and Warrington Bank Quay railway stations. From the stations, use buses going to Leigh or take a taxi.

To plan your journey by public transport:

There is a visitors car park next to the prison. There are additional spaces for Blue Badge holders next to the visitors centre.

Entering Risley

All visitors, aged 16 or older must prove their identity before entering the prison. Read the list of acceptable forms of ID when visiting a prison.

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Visitors should dress sensibly. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like vests, low-cut tops, high-cut shorts or dresses.

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

You will not be permitted to take anything into the prison with you, except your ID. Lockers are available in the visitors centre/Enhanced gate search area for all other items.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Risley. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

The rules will be explained by an officer at the start of your visit. If you break the rules, your visit could be cancelled and you could be banned from visiting again.

Visiting facilities

There are no refreshment facilities available in the visitors centre. There are refreshments available in the Visits Hall, with a limited menu, there is also the opportunity to purchase a “Special Pack” which costs £10, for a prisoner to take back to his wing.

There is a small crèche facilities now available.

Family days

Family days will return later in the year and we are hoping to do one prior to Christmas.

Keep in touch with someone at Risley

There are several ways you can keep in touch with a prisoner during their time at Risley.

Secure video calls

Secure video calling is available at this prison. Family and friends will need to download the Prison Video app, create an account, register all visitors and add the prisoner to their contact list.

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

In-cell telephony is now available in all cells.

Prisoners can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security when they first arrive so it may take a few days before they are able to call.

You can also exchange voicemails using the Prison Voicemail service

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe. Please note all phone calls are recorded. (except for legal etc.)


You can send emails to someone in Risley using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from the prisoner, depending on the rules at Risley.


You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prisoner number, contact Risley.

All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers.

Purple Visits

Purple Visits (a secure video call system) are available at Risley.

Send money and gifts

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.

You can no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post.

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

This will allow you to send money by post.

Gifts and parcels

People in Risley are given a list of approved items that can be sent to them as gifts. Contact Risley for more information on what’s allowed.

We do not accept any parcels that have been sent directly from families. Any exception to this will require an application to be approved by the Head of Operations.

The quickest way for a prisoner to receive clothing etc. is for friends or family to send the prisoner money (ideally not cash), the prisoner can then purchase the items via the approved catalogues.

For the full list of approved retailers, you can read the HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F.

If HMP Risley receives parcels which have not been approved they will not be issued to the prisoner.

Risley is now allowing underwear and socks through visits again. The process will be:

  • Visitors must provide underwear and/or socks in an open bag. No more than 4 pairs of socks and 4 items of underwear per visit. The clothing must be new and have the receipt proving they are new items of clothing. The name and number of the prisoner must be clearly written on the bag.

  • The bag will be searched and handed to the visits officer on the desk.

  • All the bags will be taken to reception where they will be X-rayed. Once confirmed clear, an Active drug dog will check all the clothing.

  • Once confirmed clear, the bags will be sealed, and they will be returned to visits. At the end of visits they will be issued to the relevant prisoners.

  • If there is no dog handler on duty, the clothing will be stored in reception until such a time as a dog handler is on duty. Once the dog handler is on duty, reception staff will X-ray the clothing and the dog handler will examine with an Active dog, once confirmed clear the dog handler will seal the bags.

  • The items will then be distributed to various wings by reception OSGs.
  • Clothing will not be accepted on Saturday or Sunday.

It’s important you’re made aware:

If an unauthorised item is found on the clothing or an indication by the drug dog:

  • The visit will be terminated and the bag will be confiscated as evidence—in some cases the visitor may be arrested and the police called. The visitor may also be banned.

  • If an indication occurs on a different day to the visits i.e. clothing which has been stored in reception until a dog handler is on duty; the bag of clothing will be sealed as evidence and later destroyed, the prisoner will be informed this has occurred. This information will be passed to the police and the visitor may be banned from visits.

  • In all cases in this section an IR will be submitted and placed on the prisoners security file.

Clothing like this through visits was allowed in the past however this was abused by a small minority where clothing was laced by illegal narcotics, when this came to light this privilege was removed.

Should we receive any intelligence and/or evidence that this is re-occurring this privilege will again be removed for all prisoners.


Life at Risley

Risley is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Risley has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by the Warrington Safeguarding Adults Board.

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner first arrives at Risley, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

They will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.

All new prisoners will be required to reverse cohort for the first 14 days at Risley. This means they cannot leave the unit they are on, and cannot have a visit during that time. They will be able to have a shower, have some time in the fresh air and use the phone each day.


Induction takes place the day after arrival at Risley and lasts about a week. It has been scaled down to allow for social distancing, but the induction programme does allow for new prisoners to receive important information about life at Risley, and they can ask questions about anything they are unsure of.

They will meet professionals who will help them with:

  • health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
  • any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
  • personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
  • other support (sometimes called ‘interventions’), such as managing difficult emotions

Everyone also finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.


Over 1000 men live at Risley in mostly single rooms.

Risley Prison has a diverse, multi-faith chaplaincy team providing support to prisoners.

Education and work

Prisoners have access to a broad range of vocational training, including interior fitting, painting and decorating, plastering, bricklaying and cleaning. Risley is also part of the Prisons ICT Academy (PICTA) which helps prepare prisoners for work in information and communications technology (ICT) roles.

They can take classroom courses in subjects such as English, maths, art and design and IT. They can also train with the PE department as a gym instructor or take other sports-related qualifications.

Prisoners can work at Risley in contract services workshops as well the kitchens, laundry, gardens and waste management unit. They can also work in the braille workshop which is part of a restorative justice project (where prisoners meet with the victims of crime).

Support for family and friends

Phoenix Futures provide our family services. They can be contacted on 01925 733063 on the days when social visits are running.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Risley.

Contact Risley

Governor: NickiDan SmithCooper

Telephone: 01925 733 000
Fax: 01925 733 001
Find out about call charges


HMP Risley
Warrington Road

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a prisoner at Risley, call the safer custody hotline.

Telephone: 01925 733007

Find out about call charges

Leave your name, the reason for your call and the name of your loved one and their prisoner number. You will be called back in 24 hours.

In the case of an emergency, please contact 01925 733023 and ask to speak to the Orderly Officer. This number should only be used if you believe there is an imminent threat to the life of the resident.

Published 2 June 2020
Last updated 221 JuneApril 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated Governor.

  2. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

  3. Added link to new safer custody information under Security and safeguarding.

  4. Updated visiting information: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

  5. Added link to information about testing for physical contact at visits.

  6. Additional guidance about new COVID-19 variant in the Bolton and Blackburn areas.

  7. New visiting times and booking information added.

  8. Updated visit info

  9. Updated visit info

  10. Updated visiting information in line with new national restrictions in England.

  11. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  12. Updated video call info

  13. Updated informatin about visiting for friends and family

  14. First published.