Go Back

HMP BEDFORD Prison Regime Info


St Loyes Street Bedford MK40 1HG image of HMP BEDFORD prison

Phone No.

01234 373000

Governor / Director

Ian Blakeman


Male Local


East of England

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy

Single, Double and Multiple

Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Christopher Padfield
Vice Chair: Annie Gardner

Visitor Info Page

HMP BEDFORD Visitor Info
Navigate this page General | Unlock & Association | Sport | Library | Faith | Healthcare | Education | Employment | Offending Behaviour Courses | Resettlement | Additional Information

Online Library documents for HMP BEDFORD

Search our Library for New Window/Tab

Bedford is a category ‘B’ local male prison/young offenders institution which serves the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire courts. It was built in 1801, enlarged in 1849 and further enlarged in the early 1990s. It has 6 wings ranging from old Victorian radial style to modern house blocks, a first night centre and a modern healthcare unit.


Bedford has been on its current site since 1801. It was enlarged in 1849 and a new gate lodge, house block and health care centre added in early 1990s.

Bedford takes sentenced and remand prisoners from Luton Crown Court and Bedford and Luton Magistrates’ Courts as well as sentenced prisoners received on overcrowding drafts from London.


  • A, B and C wings Gallery-style Victorian landing radial, three storeys
  • D wing Modern houseblock design on three storeys
  • E wing Unique houseblock, two storeys and enhanced wing
  • F wing Victorian two-storey, gallery landings and vulnerable prisoners wing Healthcare centre Single landing on second floor of new purpose-built building
  • B1 separation and support unit Single landing
  • C2 first night centre Single landing

Reception Criteria

Normal reception arrangements. Bedford accepts adult male prisoners remanded into custody from Luton Crown Court and magistrates' courts in Bedfordshire.

Agencies and Contractors

A large number of different agencies provide courses and services to the prisoners including:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (Support for prisoners with alcohol issues);
  • Bedford College (Delivers Vocational Training);
  • Bedford Primary Care Trust (Administers Health Care);
  • CARAT (Drug team);
  • Citizens Advice Bureau;
  • CRSP (Community Resettlement Support Project);
  • CRUSE (Bereavement counselling);
  • DHL (Canteen supplier);
  • F1 Training (2 Learn Direct Centres);
  • JobCentrePlus (Employment);
  • Milton Keynes College (Education Contractor);
  • Miracle Church of God (Bible classes);
  • NOMS Programme;
  • Ormiston Children and Families Trust (Ormiston)(Prisoners’ family support, play facilitators in Visits);
  • Prison Fellowship;
  • Probation (Home Detention Curfew and End of Custody Licence);
  • Samaritans (Training and support for Listeners and Insiders);
  • St Mungo (Housing needs);
  • Tribal (Basic Skills Assessments).


  • Hobbies kits during lock-up
  • In-cell power
  • Own bedding (Subject to status)
  • Own clothes
  • Playstation (Enhanced only)
  • Television (50p per week)

Back to top


Mon: 08:20 - 12:30 & 13:55 - 17:30
Tue: 08:20 - 12:30, 13:55 - 17:30 & 18:15 - 19:45
Wed: 08:20 - 12:30, 13:55 - 17:30 & 18:15 - 19:45
Thu: 08:20 - 12:30, 13:55 - 17:30 & 18:15 - 19:45
Fri: 08:20 - 12:30 & 13:55 - 17:00
Sat: 08:20 - 12:15 & 13:40 - 17:15
Sun: 08:20 - 12:15 & 13:40 - 17:15


Bedford runs a split regime so Association will vary between morning and afternoon for each session.

Each session is 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Back to top


Sports available include;

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Circuit Training
  • Hockey
  • Indoor Bowls
  • Light Circuit Training
  • Over 40s
  • Remedial
  • Soccer
  • Soft Tennis
  • Sports Field
  • Volleyball
  • Weight Loss Programme
  • Weight Training

Back to top


The library has a large collection of books in some 40 different languages for the use of foreign national prisoners.

Every prisoner has use of the library at least once a week; many twice. A new timetable from October 2009 opens the library for longer, giving prisoners longer periods in the library, and enabling the Librarian to take books to prisoners in the Health Care Centre and to other prisoners who cannot access the library.

  • Prisoners who borrow books are entered into weekly and monthly draws with small prizes and this has encouraged interest.
  • A monthly quiz run in conjunction with the Education Department.
  • Guest speakers, for example the sports journalist Mick Dennis, have attended and such talks are popular.

Back to top


Every prison has a Chaplaincy department managed by a Co-ordinating Chaplain and supported by admin staff, other Chaplains and ‘Sessional Chaplains’ (faith leaders who visit for specific services or sessions). The Chaplaincy is considered an important part of the prison structure. When a prisoner arrives at a prison they are usually seen by a Chaplain within 24 hours and are invited to register as a specific religion (if they haven’t already done so) and can change their declared religion at any time.

The Chaplaincy does far more than just pastoral care; they often are able to lend radios, musical instruments and typewriters; they may take part in Sentence Planning and are available as a ‘listening ear’ and are able, sometimes, to help with domestic problems. Most Chaplaincies run various courses and activities which may or may not have a religious theme. Every prisoner has the right to follow their religious practices and attend Chapel for services pertaining to their declared faith (even when segregated).

The Chaplaincy are able to organise faith activities for all main religions (as recognised by the Prison Service; this does not, at present include Rastafarian as a specific religion) and contact faith representatives to visit individual or groups of prisoners for the purpose of religious activities. The chaplaincy can also intercede on matters of religious dress, diet and artefacts. A full list of permitted artefacts can be found in the Glossary Section under Religious Artefacts.

You can contact the Chaplaincy by letter or by telephoning the main prison number and asking to speak to the Chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy works as part of the prison and cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality (they can explain this to you in detail). Prisoners can contact the Chaplaincy in person or by Application.

Chaplaincy Statement of Purpose (HMPS)
The Chaplaincy is committed to serving the needs of prisoners, staff and religious traditions by engaging all human experience. We will work collaboratively, respecting the integrity of each tradition and discipline. We believe that faith and the search for meaning directs and inspires life, and are committed to providing sacred spaces and dedicated teams to deepen and enrich human experience. We contribute to the care of prisoners to enable them to lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.

The Co-ordinating Chaplain at Bedford is: Rev Sharon Grenham-Toze

Full-time Anglican Chaplain, Part time Catholic, Free Church and Muslim Chaplains.

Facilities for; Buddhist, Hindu, Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Pagan, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Sikh


Back to top


Prison Healthcare is now commissioned by NHS England:
NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT
Tel: 0300 311 22 33
Link: How to make a complaint:
Complaints about Healthcare should be made first through the formal internal complaints system
There are seven Commissioning Trusts for ‘Offender Health’
East Midlands
East of England
Kent & Medway
North East
South West
Thames Valley
Yorkshire & Humber
Healthcare at this prison is commissioned by:
East of England Health & Justice Commissioning
Primary Care Provider:
South Essex Partnership Trust
Trust Head Office, The Lodge, The Chase, Wickford, Essex SS11 7XX
Tel: 0300 123 0808
Primary Healthcare
Primary Mental Healthcare
Secondary Mental Healthcare
GP Sessions
Escorts & Bedwatches
Sexual Health
Items in Green are not confirmed
Other providers
Community Dental Service CIC - Dentistry
CAN, Westminster Drug Project (WDP) - Drug Treatment Services – IDTS
Northampton Hospital Foundation Trust (NHFT) - managed by county council

Back to top


Milton Keynes College
Chaffron Way Centre, Chaffron Way, Leadenhall, Milton Keynes MK6 5LP
Tel: 01908 684444

Career Information & Advice Services (CIAS)
Tribal Education Ltd
Head office: 87-91 Newman Street, London W1T 3EY
Tel: 020 7323 7100

Classes include;

  • Art
  • Basic Education
  • Computer Studies
  • Crafts
  • English
  • Key Skills
  • Language
  • Life and Social Skills
  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Music
  • Numeracy
  • Open University



OFSTED inspect education establishments from schools to colleges to prisons. They inspect education facilities within prisons and have inspected HMP Bedford.

Inspection judgements
Inspectors use a four-point scale to summarise their judgements about achievement and standards, the quality of provision, and leadership and management, which includes a grade for equality of opportunity.

Key for inspection grades

  • Grade 1 Outstanding;
  • Grade 2 Good;
  • Grade 3 Satisfactory;
  • Grade 4 Inadequate.

Click Here for further information on how inspection judgements are made.

Scope of the inspection
In deciding the scope of the inspection, inspectors take account of the provider’s most recent self-assessment report and development plans, and comments from the local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) or other funding body. Where appropriate, inspectors also consider the previous inspection report , reports from the inspectorates’ monitoring visits, and data on learners and their achievements over the period since the previous inspection.


Last inspection: 02/03/2009


Summary of grades awarded
Effectiveness of provision: Grade 3
Capacity to improve: Grade 3
Achievement and standards: Grade 2
Employability training:  Grade 2
Literacy, numeracy and ESOL: Grade 2
Personal development and social integration: Grade 2
Quality of provision: Grade 3
Employability training: Grade 3
Literacy, numeracy and ESOL: Grade 3
Personal development and social integration: Grade 3
Leadership and management: Grade 3
Equality of opportunity: Grade 3

To read their report click here.

Back to top


Employment and workshops include;

  • Bricklaying
  • Catering
  • Gardening
  • Industrial Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Painting and Decorating


Learning aims recorded for Skills Funding Agency OLASS
Adult Literacy
Adult Numeracy
Art and Design
Art and Design
Artwork and imaging software Level 1
Artwork and imaging software Level 2
Basic ESOL Course, Entry Level
Basic Literacy Course, Entry Level
Basic Numeracy Course, Level 1
Certificate for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Communication in the Workplace
Database software Level 1
Database software Level 2
Developing Information, Advice or Guidance
Developing Personal Development Skills
Diploma for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Introduction to Aspects of Citizenship (Entry 3)
Introduction to Personal Budgeting and Money Management (Entry 3)
NQF - Level 1, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
OCN Entry Level, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 1, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 1, PW B, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 1, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 2, PW A, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
OCN Level 2, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
Personal Budgeting and Money Management
Preparation for Work
Presentation software Level 1
Presentation software Level 2
Progression (Entry 3) (QCF)
Progression (QCF)
Spreadsheet software Level 1
Spreadsheet software Level 2
Understanding Aspects of Citizenship
Understanding Diversity within Society
Unitisation (approved external qualification) Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14) - Literacy
Unitisation (approved external qualification) Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14) - Numeracy
Website software Level 1
Website software Level 2
Word processing software Level 1

Word processing software Level 2


Current Wages

Employed: £5.00 - £35.00 (per week)
Education: £2.50 per session (Enhanced £2.60)
Retired: £3.25 (per week)
Long term sick: £3.25 (per week)

Pay bonuses are awarded for accredited and non-accredited achievements.

Back to top


Bedford list no Offending Behaviour Programmes.

Back to top


  • Job club - Job Centre+
  • Self employment classes


Family Days Available


Guardian Has To Stay


Own Children




Age limits: Up to 16 years
No of Visitors permitted: 1 adult and any number of children.

Grandchildren are allowed if the prisoner is the only male carer.



Back to top


Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for this prison: 4
This is on a scale from 1 (serious concerns) to 4 (Exceptional) and is worked out by the Ministry of Justice taking into account 34 criteria such as overcrowding, purposeful activities etc. A score of 3 is considered a good performance. Published quarterly.

Average weekly hours of Purposeful Activity: 19.0 (2010)

This figure is supplied by each prison to the Prison Service. Actual hours are usually dependent on activities etc. and should be taken as the maximum time either in workshops or education over a whole week.

Both of these figures are published retrospectively by the MoJ and HMPS and may have changed since the figures were published but they give a simple comparison between prisons.


Annual Budget: £10,800,000(2011-12)

Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £37,462
The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.

This prison is 68/124 on cost per prisoner (1 is highest cost)

Parliamentary Information
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Richard Fuller (Conservative)

Prisoners may write to either their ‘Home MP’ or the MP in whose constituency their current prison lies.

The address to write to is:

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA


Local Authority
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford MK42 9AP
Tel: 01234 267422
Click Here for link
Unitary Authority

You can contact the local authority on matters such as libraries, environmental health, trading standards, food hygiene, social services, education and electoral registration.

Trading Standards
The nearest Trading Standards department is at:
Bedford Borough Council, Environmental Health & Trading Standards, Town Hall, St Paul's Square, Bedford MK40 1SJ
Tel: 01234 228897
Click Here for link

Trading Standards can help with problems with purchases such as weights and measures, ‘best by’ dates, pricing & faulty goods.


Most prisons now have PIN phones. Your relative or friend usually needs to apply to have your name and number on his/her telephone account. You will usually receive a call from the prison to check who you are and to ensure you are happy for them to call you. Prisoners cannot receive telephone calls.

There is no restriction on who prisoners can call except in the case of calls to journalists intended to be broadcast. In some cases child protection measures may mean extra checks on who they call.

Prisoners can normally make calls only during ‘association’ periods. Some prisons limit the length of time a call can last to avoid queues and people being disappointed. Prisoners’ telephone calls are very expensive; calls to landlines now cost 10p per minute and 37.5 p to mobiles (compared to 2p in a public phone box). In most prisons the phone calls can be listened to and/or recorded.

In general prisoners phone calls follow the same rules as for letters in as far as who can be contacted and what can be said. If the rules are broken the prison may terminate the call.

If a prisoner is newly convicted or transferred they should be offered an immediate ‘Reception’ phone call to tell you where they are. It may take a few days for numbers to be transferred or added.

When you write to a prisoner you must include your full name and address. In most prisons the letters are searched and can be read before being given to the prisoner.

You can write about anything but letters must not be obscene, name ‘victims’, or be a threat to discipline or security. Do not enclose any items with letters. Make sure you put sufficient postage to cover the costs (anything bigger than A5 counts as ‘large’). Prisoners can normally receive a ‘reasonable’ number of letters per week.

If you send greetings cards these should be of reasonable size and not padded or pouched. Do not send musical cards. If you are sending more than one card put them all inside one outer envelope, this saves postage. Remember to include your full details (you could put your details on a ‘Post-It’ note stuck to the card or include a letter which has your details).

Always put the prisoner’s full name and prison number. If the person has been moved their mail will be forwarded.

On conviction or transfer a prisoner should be given a ‘Reception’ letter to write to tell you where they are.

Prisoners are given a free letter each week to post out, they can send more, but at their own expense. Some prisons allow you to send in stamps.

You can send stamped address envelopes (address to yourself), for the prisoner to reply, to any prisoner in any prison.

Prisoners are not allowed to send you letters or information to be posted on social networking internet sites.

Remember all letters are opened and checked and may be read.

Full information about prisoners correspondence can be found in Prison Service Instruction 20011-006


You can usually send in photographs but in some prisons these must not include any image of the prisoner. Child protection measures may mean that some prisoners may not receive pictures of children, unless they are their own and were not ‘victims’. If you send pictures of children include an explanatory note identifying who the children are and their relationship to the prisoner.

It is not a good idea to send cash, this can get ‘lost’ in the prison. Prisons prefer postal orders, but you could send a cheque. Make these payable to ‘H M Prison Service’, write your name on the back and also the prisoner’s full name and prison number. Any money sent which is deemed to be ‘anonymous’ can be stopped.

Money you send is paid into the prisoner’s ‘Private Cash’ account and they get access to a certain amount (depending upon IEP) each week [currently £15.50 for Standard prisoners]. Include your full detail in an accompanying letter or note.

For full information about visits please refer to our ‘Visit Info’ section for this prison. Visits are very important to prisoners. At most prisons you may not give any item to the prisoner. Any items you wish to give them must usually be posted to the prison, and often after the prisoner has placed an ‘application’ for authorisation to have it sent in. The items which can be posted in are very limited. Check with the prisoner first and wait until they confirm that you can post it.


If there is a serious emergency - close family serious illness, death, or other reason you need to inform the prisoner immediately, you should telephone the main prison number and explain the problem to the operator who will transfer you to the appropriate person. If you are unhappy about their response redial and ask to speak to the Chaplaincy. Prison staff will not pass on general messages but only critical and very urgent messages. You should provide full details of the prisoner including their number.

Support and Advice

There are many very good charities and agencies who offer support and advice to people with family or friends in prison. We have a special section ‘Help/Support’ which has details and contact information for many of these. Do not hesitate or feel shy about calling any of these; they are there to offer support and advice.

This service operates at this prison. Email a Prisoner enables you to send messages to prisoners, in the UK and Irish prisons that operate the service, from any computer, without any of the hassles of writing and posting a letter, and it costs less than a second class stamp!

Your message is delivered to the prison within seconds so that it can be delivered to the prisoner by the prison staff in the next delivery.

It is free to sign up to Email a Prisoner and only takes a few seconds - all you need is an email address (EMaP can help you if you don't have an email address).

Once a member you will be able to send a message to any prisoner in the UK or Ireland, provided you know their prisoner number, from just 25 pence per message.

Click Here for link to Email a Prisoner website


Prison Video Link (PVL)
All prisons with video link facilities have at least one courtroom and two briefing rooms where the defendant can hold a conference with their solicitor before and, if required, after their court hearing.

If court hearings are not taking place it may be possible for solicitors, barristers and Probation Officers to hold interviews with a prisoner via video link to save having to visit the prison.

The facility is also available to assist the Parole Board in dealing with oral hearings.

It should be noted however that court hearings must take priority. At other times, operational reasons may mean bookings are refused or cancelled at short notice.

To book the Video Link facility telephone: 01234 373000 ext 179


Monitoring and Inspection
Prisons Inspectorate
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) regularly inspects prisons and produces a report of their inspection with recommendations for improvements.
Click Here to download a guide to inspections
Click Here to visit our Library Section where you can download the latest inspection reports for all prisons
Independent Monitoring Board
Each prison has an Independent Monitoring Board made up of local people who visit the prison regularly to check on the treatment of prisoners. They produce an Annual Report.
Click Here to visit our Library Section where you can download current and earlier IMB annual reports
Click Here to download the IMB’s information leaflet; explaining who they are and what they do.
OFSTED, who check on teaching standards in schools also visit prisons and publish a report of their findings.
Click Here to visit our Library Section where you can download OFSTED reports for all prisons
Monitoring & Inspection
Our on-line Library has a special section containing information, reports and publications about the monitoring of prisons and related services.
Click Here to visit the ‘Monitoring and Inspection’ section of our on-line Library



Information in this section has been kindly provided by the individual prison and the Ministry of Justice. This is supplemented with information from various government websites, Inspectorates and IMB reports and specialist departments within the Prison Service, government, and regional assemblies/parliaments.
Some of the data is published retrospectively: IMBs/Visiting Committees publish their reports up to 6 months after the end of the reporting period and at different times throughout the year, HMCIP publish their reports up to 6 months after the inspection. Population and performance figures are the latest published but can be considerably out of date.
Please Note: Information is constantly changing: The information on our website is regularly checked but if you have additional information, or if you believe that any of our information is incorrect or any links appear to fail please click on ‘Contact’, below.
Before acting upon any information you are advised to contact the prison directly to ensure there have been no recent changes.

Last Update: January 2014

Back to Top


Inside Time Latest Issue

Issue : December 2014

Headlines | Mailbag | Poems
Book List | PSI Updates


Back Issues

Back Issues

View backissues and extras

Browse and Search Tools

View headlines by category
Search headlines | All headlines
Search mailbag | All mailbag
Search poems | All poems

December 2014 Headlines
> Treat Prisoners as Human Beings, Not Criminals
> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the governmentís Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didnít do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - donít let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
> Christmas Messages

About Us

About insidetime
Editorial Team

InsidePoetry Book

insidepoetry book New! Volume 5 of
insidepoetry book
is now available!

A collection of poems by prisoners of all backgrounds.

Availabe to buy from this site! Volume 1,2,3 and 4 are also still available and you can SAVE by purchasing bundles!

USP Service

USP from Inside Time

The Useful Services for Prisoners scheme from insidetime provides discounts, vouchers and other benefits from USP Group Members for Prisoners, their families and legal advisors. Click the image above to read more about it.


You can subscribe to insidetime Newspaper and get the paper each month delivered to your door!


Advertise your business or solicitors office to a highly defined target audience.

Other Publications

Inside Time has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.


Contact Us

All contact info for the Operations office and the Editorial Team.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insidetime site.

External Links

We have a number of external websites which you may be interested on our Links Page.

Social Networking


Inside Information


Everything you need to know about visiting people in prison; procedures, opening times, directions etc.

Comprehensive information about each prison regime; lock down times, facilities, healthcare etc.

*NEW* Detailed information about IRC - Immigration Removal Centres.

insideinformation Book

insideinformation book
The insideinformation book

A comprehensive guide to prisons and prison related services, designed and compiled by former prisoners.


Help and Support

Various pages of information for help and support organisations and networks for those in custody as well as recently released. Also information for friends and family.

Grants and Funding

This grants and funding pdf document aims to meet the need of prisoners and ex-offenders for accurate, up to date information on the supplementary funding available to prisoners.

Rules and Regulations

Information on rules & regulations used throughout the prison service.

Glossary of Terms

The Glossary of Prison Related Terms explains what all the acronyms and terms stand for with prison related matters. Includes links to external sites to further explain things.

Fact Sheets

We have produced many Prison Related Fact Sheets inc. Legal Fact Sheets, Parole Fact Sheets and Other related information.


Find a Solicitor

You can search our solicitor database for listings of solicitors in your area that provide the services you require.

Find a Barrister

You can search our barrister database for listings of barristers in your area that provide the services you require.

Address Finder

You can search our address database in many ways to retrieve contact information for all those elusive addresses you need in a hurry.

Prison Law pdf

This document provides details of leading training providers who offer sound professional training.

Other Publications

Inside Information has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insideinformation site.

Contact Us

Use the Contact Us Feedback form to send us suggestions, plus our address and phone numbers.



Inside Justice

insidejustice was launched in July 2010 to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Full introduction is on the insidejustice homepage

insidejustice Cases

insidejustice Articles & Reviews

insidejustice Advisory Panel Members

insidejustice Sponsors page

insidejusticecontact details