Wakefield is a high security prison for men, including men convicted of a sex offence, in West Yorkshire.
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Book and plan your visit to Wakefield
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.
To visit someone in Wakefield you must:
- be on that person’s visitor list
- book your visit at least 2 days in advance
- have the required ID with you when you go
A maximum of 3 adults can visit at one time, plus children. At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.
Prisoners who have been sentenced can have between 2 and 4 visits every 4 weeks, depending on their privileges.
Prisoners on remand can have up to 4 visits a week, depending on availability.
Contact Wakefield 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 Wakefield
- somewhere to stay overnight
How to book family and friends visits
You can book your visit online.
Wakefield 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 by telephone.
Visits booking line: 01924 612 274
The booking line is open:
- Monday and Friday: 9am to midday
- Tuesday to Thursday: 9am to midday and 2pm to 4pm
- Monday to Thursday: 2pm to 4pm
- Friday: no visits
- Saturday: 2pm to 4pm
How to book legal and professional visits
Legal visits booking line: 01924 612 085
The line is open:
- Monday and Friday: 9am to midday
- Tuesday to Thursday: 9am to midday and 2pm to 4pm
Legal visiting times
Tuesday to Thursday: 9am to 11am
Getting to Wakefield
The nearest station is Wakefield Westgate, which is about a 5 minute walk from the prison.
To plan your journey by public transport:
There is no visitor car parking available at Wakefield. There are car parks in the town centre a short walk away.
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 appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like revealing clothing or clothing with offensive slogans.
There will be no refreshments available during your visit.
There are strict controls on what you can take into Wakefield. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker (you will need a £1 coin) or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.
You will be told the rules 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.
There is a visitors centre run by Partners of Prisoners (POPS).
The centre is open on visiting days from 9am for morning sessions and 12:30pm for afternoon sessions.
There are currently no family days running.
Keep in touch with someone at Wakefield
There are several ways you can keep in touch with a prisoner during their time at Wakefield.
Secure video calls
Secure video calling is available at this prison. Family and friends need to download the
purple visits app, create an account, register all visitors, and add the prisoner to their contact list.
Prisoners do not have phones in their rooms so they will always have to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this.
They 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.
You can send emails to someone in Wakefield 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 Wakefield.
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 Wakefield.
All post, apart from legal letters, will be opened and checked by officers.
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 Wakefield can buy a range of items, including fresh produce, from the prison shop.
Friends and families of prisoners are permitted to send books directly to their loved ones, hand in at visits or can order books from approved retailers, which can source and send the books on to prisoners. For the full list of approved retailers, you can read the HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F.
Life at Wakefield
Wakefield 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 Wakefield has a right to feel safe.
For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website.
The prison works closely with Wakefield and District Safeguarding Adults Board who oversee the safeguarding processes and are advised by the Safeguarding Prison Sub Group.
Arrival and first night
When a prisoner first arrives at Wakefield, 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. If it is likely to be late, prison staff will contact the family member earlier in the day to check they are happy to be contacted.
New prisoners will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs. Any issues that are raised will be looked into and resolved.
Each person who arrives at Wakefield gets an induction that can last up to 2 weeks. Everyone is given an induction booklet that schedules the induction activities they need to attend. 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.
New prisoners will also get to meet representatives from the wing they will be moving to. These include ‘insiders’ and ‘prison listeners’ who provide support and advice.
Up to 750 men live at Wakefield, across 4 units, each with up to 180 men in single rooms.
Each man gets their own room. TVs are available to men on ‘standard’ and ‘enhanced’ behaviour levels.
Wakefield is dedicated to making prisons safer and equal. It also runs a diverse, multi-faith chaplaincy team providing support to prisoners. The kitchen caters for religious and medical diets.
Prisoners have regular access to the gym.
Education and work
Prisoners have access to many learning opportunities provided by Milton Keynes College. These range from basic skills, such as English and maths, to distance learning with the Open University. Accredited courses are available in hospitality, catering and industrial cleaning.
Men can take jobs throughout the prison, in the kitchens, in textiles, woodwork and the library. They can also work in the braille shop, converting books to braille.
Wakefield also runs a number of accredited offending behaviour programmes.
Some prisoners may qualify for release on temporary licence (ROTL).
Organisations Wakefield works with
Toe By Toe encourages prisoners to help others improve their reading and literacy.
Support for family and friends
Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.
Support at Wakefield
You can get family support from Partners of Prisoners (POPS).
You can also call:
Telephone: 01924 612 165 or 0161 702 1000
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm
Problems and complaints
If you have a problem contact Wakefield.
HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Wakefield in response to independent inspections.
Governor: Tom Wheatley
Telephone (24 hours): 01924 612 000
Fax: 01924 612 001
Find out about call charges
5 Love Lane
If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Wakefield, call the switchboard and ask to speak to the Safer Prisons department or the duty governor.
In an emergency, ask for the ‘control room’. They will pass on your concerns to the orderly officer immediately.
Telephone: 01924 612 000
You can also call the Safer Prisons Family Helpline and leave a message. It is monitored from 8am to 5pm and once after midnight.
Telephone: 0800 389 1108