Go Back

HMP HIGH DOWN Prison Regime Info


High Down Lane Sutton SM2 5PJ image of HMP HIGH DOWN prison

Phone No.

020 7147 6300

Governor / Director

Ian Bickers


Male Local


South Central

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy


Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Suzanne Bird
Vice Chair: Cynthia Bradley

Visitor Info Page

HMP HIGH DOWN 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 HIGH DOWN

Search our Library for New Window/Tab

Category ‘B’ male local prison. There are six house blocks including drug recovery and detoxification. The accommodation and environment has been described as ‘good’ as is the prisoner/staff relationship. There are some double cells which have triple occupancy. High Down is now famous for its ‘Clink’ restaurant which provides a small group of prisoners with high quality training.


Built on the site of a former mental hospital at Banstead, the establishment serves the Crown Court at Guildford and Croydon, and surrounding Magistrates courts.


4 Houseblocks each with 181 spaces in single and double cells, but some double cells have triple occupancy. Two additional new Houseblocks are now open; each of these will house 178 prisoners. All of the new accommodation is single cell. All cells have integral sanitation, and they are spread over 3 landings, all landings have their own showers and phones.

  • House block 1 – general population
  • House block 2 – general population and vulnerable prisoner unit
  • House block 3 – induction/first night unit
  • House block 4 – general population and detoxification
  • House block 5 – A spur – voluntary drug testing unit / B-spur – general population
  • House block 6 – detoxification/maintenance prisoners

Reception Criteria

Normal Reception arrangements. High Down's catchment area comprises Croydon and Guildford Crown Courts and surrounding Magistrates' Courts. There are no medical restrictions.


  • Own clothes
  • Own bedding (enhanced)
  • PlayStation (enhanced)
  • Television (50p per week)

Back to top


Mon: 07:45 - 12:15, 13:30 - 16:40 & 17:30 - 19:10
Tue: 07:45 - 12:15, 13:30 - 16:40 & 17:30 - 19:10
Wed: 07:45 - 12:15, 13:30 - 16:40 & 17:30 - 19:10
Thu: 07:45 - 12:15, 13:30 - 16:40 & 17:30 - 19:10
Fri: 07:45 - 12:15, 13:30 - 16:40 & 17:10
Sat: 08:00 - 12:15 & 13:30 - 16:40
Sun: 08:00 - 12:15 & 13:30 - 16:40


Mon: 17:30 - 19:10
Tue: 17:30 - 19:10
Wed: 17:30 - 19:10
Thu: 17:30 - 19:10
Fri: 13:45 - 16:10
Sat: 09:15 - 11:30 & 13:45 - 16:10
Sun: 09:15 - 11:30 & 13:45 - 16:10

Back to top


1 x PESO, and 10 x PEO
Two large Gymnasiums
Sports Field, and Tarmac Area.
One Gym has 4 Badminton courts, Weights Room, and Fitness Suite.
The other gym has a combined Weights and Fitness Suite.
There is an Astroturf Sports Field for football and other sports
There is a Remedial Suite in one gym.

Sports available include;

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Circuit Training
  • Light Circuit Training
  • Remedial
  • Soccer
  • Soft Tennis
  • Sports Field
  • Weight Loss Programme
  • Weight Training
  • Volleyball

The following also takes place;

  • Focus Level 1 Assist Fitness Instructors Award
  • Heartstart 
  • Manual Handling, NOCN (National Open College Network Courses)
  • Tackling Drugs Through PE.

Back to top



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 High Down is: Matina Brain

Full-time Anglican, Catholic and Muslim Chaplains. Part-time Free Church and Muslim Chaplains. Visiting Baptist, Buddhist, Hindu, Jehovah's Witness and Sikh ministers. A Rabbi attends every Friday morning.

The Muslim Chaplain runs an Islamic Library every Wednesday morning.

Prisoners have access to practice any other faith.

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 High Down is commissioned by:
Kent and Medway Health & Justice Commissioning
Primary Care Providers:
Cheam Family Practice
Studholme Medical Centre (GP Services)
Virgin – Primary Care Nursing
RaPT – Substance Misuse

Contact Information for Virgin Care PALS and Complaints:
Tel: 01932 723749/01932 723855
Fax: 01932 723854
Email: customerservices.surrey@virgincare.co.uk
Post: Virgin Care, Bournewood House, Guildford Road, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 0QA


Back to top


The Manchester College
The Manchester College, Offender Learning Directorate, Fielden Compus, Burlow Manor Road M1 3HB
Tel: 0800 068 8585

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

Full Time, 2 Assistant Heads of Education Full time, 20 Full Time Staff, 7.5 Part Time staff , and 26 sessional teaching staff. 2 Full time Technicians, 2 Full time and 2 Part time administration staff.

Education is provided on three different sites in the prison, Stephen Pryor Centre with 22 classrooms, Workshop 2 with 5 classrooms and Houseblock 2 with 3 classrooms.

Classes include;

  • Art
  • Basic Education
  • Computer Studies
  • Cookery
  • Crafts
  • Creative Writing
  • Drama
  • English
  • Life & Social Skills
  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Music
  • Open University
  • Pottery

Personal Leadership and Personal Effectiveness Programme
This is a scheme that aims to reduce reoffending and anti-social behaviour among prisoners.

The Personal Leadership and Personal Effectiveness Programme, which has helped more than 200 young offenders, aims to reduce reoffending by changing behaviour, building confidence and improving communication skills.

It is described as; a challenging course which tackles the individual reasons that lie behind what makes young men break the law in the first place.

The accredited scheme is being run with the help of the Chrysalis Foundation, a social enterprise that aims to improve offender development and rehabilitation.


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

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 Date: 18/04/2007

Summary of grades awarded

Literacy and numeracy: 3
Independent living: 2

To read their report click here

Back to top


Prison Workshops


Employment includes;

  • Bricklaying
  • Carpentry
  • Catering
  • Gardening
  • Industrial Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Plastering
  • Plumbing
  • Sports Studies
  • Textiles

Accreditation is offered in the following work areas;

  • Kitchen: NVQ in Food Preparation and Food Service
  • Food Hygiene
  • Customer service and BICS Level 1,2 &3 in cleaning Food areas
  • Workshop 4 Industrial Cleaning: BICS level 1, 2 and 3
  • Assessors Award and Train the Trainer
  • Laundry: SATRA qualifications Laundry processes


Learning aims recorded for Skills Funding Agency OLASS
Adult Literacy
Adult Literacy (Entry 1, 2 and 3)
Adult Numeracy
Basic Construction Skills
Business Enterprise (QCF)
Certificate for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Construction Skills Certification Scheme
Diploma for IT Users (CLAiT Plus)
Diploma for IT Users (New CLAiT)
Fundamentals of Food Hygiene
Health and Safety at Work
NQF - Level 1, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
NQF - Level 1, Construction, Planning and the Built Environment (SSA 5), PW C
NQF - Level 1, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW A
NQF - Level 2, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
NQF - Level 2, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
OCN Level 1, PW A, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 1, PW C, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9)
OCN Level 1, PW E, 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)
Practical skills/crafts, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
QCF provision - Level 1, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
QCF provision - Level 2, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15), PW A
QCF provision - Level 2, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
QCF provision - Level 2, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW A
QCF provision - Level 3, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15), PW A
QCF provision - Level 3, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
Unitisation (approved external qualification) Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14) - ESOL
Vocational study not leading to a recognised qualification, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15)
Vocational study not leading to a recognised qualification, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6)

Vocational study not leading to a recognised qualification, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)


Current Wages


Employed: £3.00 - £17.00
Education: 70p per session
Retired: £3.50 (£4.50 Enhanced)
Long term sick: £3.50 (£4.50 Enhanced)

Back to top


  • SDP (Short Duration Programme)

Back to top


  • Aspire – Employment mentors
  • Bridging the Gap – Accommodation & other support on release
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Eco-Actif - ETE support
  • Lighthouse Mentor Scheme
  • Next Step – Advice on education & training
  • Resettlement Clinic
  • Southside Partnership – Support for BME prisoners with mental health issues
  • St Giles’ Trust – Housing, ducation & raining support
  • Stepping Stones – Accommodation support
  • Surrey Job Match – Support with employment and training in the Surrey area
  • The Clink – Training restaurant for prisoners


Family Days Available


Guardian Has To Stay


Own Children




Age Limits

3 - 16 years

No of Visitors Permitted

No limit as long as children meet the criteria

Back to top


Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for this prison: 3
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: 18.1 (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: £22,100,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £38,361

*The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.

Parliamentary Information
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Crispin Blunt (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



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.

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 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].

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.


Story Book Dads/Mums
Story Book Dads/Mums operates at this prison.
The imprisoned parent records a story and a message which is then edited and enhanced using digital audio software and editors remove mistakes and add sound effects and music. Finally a CD is made, a personalised cover created, and the finished disc sent to the child. The whole service is free.

Click Here for more information


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: 020 8722 6300 ext 6400

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