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Wansbeck Road Morpeth Northumberland NE65 9XF

Phone No.

01670 762 300

Governor / Director

Matt Spencer


Male Cat. B


North East

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy

Single and double and multiple

Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Peter Reed
Vice Chair: Catherine Sanderson & William Darby

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Online Library documents for HMP NORTHUMBERLAND

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HMP Northumberland was formerly two separate prisons situated a few hundred meters apart - namely, HMP Acklington and HMP Castington. The merger of the two prisons was announced in 2010 and work began in April 2011 to merge all of the functions. On 31 October 2011, the merged prison became known as HMP Northumberland. The physical merge of the prison has now been completed, with the erection of a fence linking the two sites. Northumberland now has one Gate and one Reception.

HMP Acklington was a Male Adult Category C Training Prison and, until 1970, was an RAF Station; a large hangar, mess building and former workshops remain. Acklington held short-term, medium-term, long-term prisoners, IPP and up to 35 life sentenced prisoners progressing towards release. HMIP published a positive report on HMP Acklington in 2009, stating that their inspection found a greatly energised and much better managed prison.

HMP Castington was originally a satellite of HMP Acklington before becoming independent in 1983, when it was used to accommodate long-term offenders up to the age of 21. At the beginning of 1999, a further unit was opened to hold unconvicted young people, and in April 2000 was again re-roled to become part of the juvenile estate as well as a young offender prison. A section 91 unit was opened in August 2000 to hold up to 40 juvenile offenders. In 2010, the establishment re-roled and became a Male Adult Category C prison.

From the 1 December 2013 HMP Northumberland formally transferred to the management of Sodexo Justice Services. 


Fifteen House Blocks (HBs) - all single cell accommodation.

The Gateway Unit is a dedicated drug free/recovery unit. The other fourteen houseblockss hold convicted category C prisoners. Five of the houseblocks hold VPs; the rest are all classified as normal location.

  • All cells have integral sanitation and a kettle.
  • Prison issue duvets are provided.
  • Prisoners are not permitted to have pets.
  • In-cell TV is available to all Enhanced and Standard prisoners.
  • Own clothes may be worn on residential units during association periods; prison clothing is provided and worn for attending places of work, chapel and visits.
  •  Bail Information & Personal Officer Scheme.
  • OASys/Sentence Planning and Drug Counselling are all available.
  • Various behaviour improvement programmes are provided.
  • Pin phones available on all HBs (phone calls monitored). Mail opened and checked.


Reception Criteria:
Category C Sentence – any Lifers as allocated by Lifer Management Unit.

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Monday to Thursday

  • Serve breakfast 07:50
  • Activities commence 08:30
  • Serve lunch 11:50
  • Activities commence 14:00
  • Serve tea meal and commence Association / Activities 17:10
  • Cease Association / Activities 19:10
  • All prisoner returned to their cells 19:30


  • Serve breakfast 07:50
  • Activities commence 08:30
  • Serve lunch 11:50
  • Commence Association / Activities 14:30
  • Serve Tea 16:15
  • All prisoner returned to their cells 17:00

Saturday - Sunday

  • Serve breakfast 08:25
  • Move to Chapel & Gym 08:45
  • Commence Association 09:30
  • Serve Lunch 11:45
  • Movements to Visits 13:45
  • Commence Association / Activities 14:00
  • Serve Tea 16:00
  • All prisoner returned to their cells 17:00



Mon - Thu: 17:10 - 19:30
Fri: 14:30 - 17:00
Weekend: 09:30 - 17:00

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The P.E. Department supports workplace delivery of education and vocational training and contribute to strategies for the resettlement of prisoners and promotion of healthy lifestyles including support in the delivery of offending behaviour programmes.

The gym delivers qualifications and develops constructive partnerships with other agencies and external employers providing opportunities and jobs for prisoners on release.
The P.E. programme meets the needs of the prison population and complements the
establishment’s regime as well as any statutory requirements.

There are 3 Gyms which consist of a range of cardio and resistance machines with a large range of free weights. Gyms 1 & 3 have sports halls attached where a range of sporting activities including team building sessions for offender behaviour programmes are delivered. There are also 3 football pitches and 1 rugby pitch.

There are 2 fitness suites with cardio only located on Gate Way and House block 5 .

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Mon & Wed; 17:15 -19:15

Fri; 14:00 - 16.00

Sat; 09:30 11:30

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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).

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.

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Commissioner: North East Offender Health Commissioning Unit
Tel: 0191 374 4138

Provider: North East Offender Health, Care UK
Tel: 0191 3729936

There are no inpatient facilities.

Mental Health in-reach provision available Monday to Friday.


Nursing Cover

07:30 to 19:30 Mon to Thursday
07:30 to 17:00 Friday
08:00 to 17:00 Saturday to Sunday

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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)
A4e (Action For Employment Ltd)
Bessemer Road, Sheffield S9 3XN
Tel: 0800 345 666

Education and training are delivered within 2 separate prison locations utilising a large number of classrooms and vocational work areas.

The department consists of:

  • 2 OLASS Operational Managers
  • 2 Deputy Managers, and Senior Leads
  • Approximately 40 teachers.

A diverse range of courses are available to all including Functional Skills, Employability, Business Admin, and Creative Techniques to more challenging Vocational Training Courses including Motor Mechanics, Bricklaying, Painting & Decorating, Plastering, Woodwork, Catering and Hospitality (basic skills are embedded within all vocational areas).

Out of scope accreditation is available within the Kitchen, Gardens/Horticulture and Physical Education.

Other areas include a careers information, advice and guidance service available to all prisoners provided by A4E, Toe by Toe, Duke of Edinburgh and an establishment Writer in Residence.

All prisoners are managed by Offender Supervisors and Education staff work on C Nomis to support this.

Activity and learning allocation is through a weekly Labour Allocation Board that looks to allocate prisoners to suitable placements dependant upon identified sentence planning needs.

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Employed: £8.00 - £26.00

Education: £9.00
Retired: £5.75

Long term sick: £5.75

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  • AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • ETS
  • Healthy Living
  • Parenting
  • Personal & Social Development
  • Screening - Life Screening
  • Sexual Offending - SOTP Becoming New Me Accredited LDD
  • Sexual Offending - SOTP Core Accredited
  • STOP
  • TSP Accredited

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CLICK HERE - for the latest Inspection Report

CLICK HERE - for information about the IMB

CLICK HERE - for information on MPs etc.

CLICK HERE - for information about Communication with Prisoners



Parliamentary Information
CONSTITUENCY: Berwick-upon-Tweed
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Alan Beith (Liberal Democrat)

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.

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


Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP)
Click Here for information about HM Inspectorate of prisons and how inspections are conducted (Word document) 


Last Inspection by HMCIP:
11-15 June 2012 Unannounced full inspection
Published: November 2012

Energetic and committed management delivering solid outcomes

They said:
“This is our first inspection of HMP Northumberland since the former young offender institution, Castington and the adult category C training prison, Acklington were brought together as one prison. Now completely committed to the custody of adults and holding both mainstream prisoners and a significant vulnerable population of sex offenders, Northumberland is a huge facility capable of holding over 1,300 men. The prison currently occupies two adjacent sites, but there are plans to connect them by altering the fence line, which will further emphasise the size and complexity of the establishment.

“ As well as the challenge of ensuring a successful amalgamation, at the time of our inspection the prison was also undergoing a competitive market test process to determine whether it remained in the public sector or became private. In the context of this uncertainty, the establishment should take credit for what is a reasonably good report, particularly concerning the issues of safety and respect.

“ Our survey of prisoners indicated that more felt safe than in similar prisons and there were satisfactory procedures to tackle violence and self-harm. There were some improvements to make in arrangements for receiving and inducting new prisoners, but the use of force and segregation were low and well managed. The prison could not afford to be complacent about drug usage which was appreciable, but recent indicators suggested improvement.

“ The prison was a respectful place. The quality of accommodation was generally good, and some was excellent. The prison was clean and external areas were well maintained. Relationships between staff and prisoners were encouraging and there had been progress in the promotion of diversity. However, the prison needed to be more proactive about the wellbeing of older prisoners and those identified as disabled. The provision of health care was reasonable, but a number of issues needed to be addressed, not least the varied prisoner perceptions of the service they received.

“ Northumberland, as a training prison, offered a regime that had the potential to provide good quality opportunities and outcomes. There was a sufficient range of opportunity in learning and skills, good teaching and some good facilities. Achievement among learners was high. However, there were insufficient places to meet the needs of the population and allocation arrangements were so poor that those places that existed were not fully utilised. Punctuality was described as erratic. Prisoner perceptions of the regime on offer were disappointingly poor and it was inexcusable that, in a training prison, we found a third of the population locked up doing nothing during the working day.

“ It was clear that much work was being done to improve the quality of offender management and resettlement work, although the offender management unit was still being established and the prison had some way to go. Offender management caseloads were too high and some structures and processes were weak. Prisoner perceptions of offender management were poor. Work regarding public protection was, however, much better. Partnerships with Shelter appeared to be delivering good outcomes with regard to some resettlement pathways and the Gateway resettlement unit was an interesting, although not yet fully developed, initiative to support reintegration. The prison needed to become more confident about the use of temporary release to support resettlement. There was a lack of work to support the children and families resettlement pathway.

“ This inspection took place at a time of significant change and uncertainty for HMP Northumberland. Castington and Acklington had integrated well and felt like one entity, which was a real achievement. We were impressed by the energetic and committed management team who were delivering some solid outcomes. The prison’s priorities, however, must now be to deliver on the work begun in resettlement and to get prisoners usefully occupied in this training prison.”

Nick Hardwick September 2012
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Click Here to read the full report

Independent Monitoring Board

By law every prison and immigration removal centre must have an Independent Monitoring Board. IMBs in prisons derive their responsibilities from the Prison Act 1952 (Section 6). Prison Rules dealing with IMBs are numbers; 74 to 80

IMBs were known as ‘Boards of Visitors’ and are still referred to in the legislation under their old titles, although this is likely to change in the near future.

The Independent Monitoring Board for each establishment is made up of independent and unpaid volunteers from the local area. They monitor the day-to-day life in the establishment and ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Members have unrestricted access to all areas of the prison at all times and can talk to any prisoner they wish, out of sight and hearing of a members of staff. They visit all areas such as; kitchens, workshops, accommodation blocks, recreation areas, healthcare centre and chaplaincy.

If a prisoner or detainee has an issue that they have been unable to resolve through the usual internal channels, they can place a confidential request to see a member of the IMB. Problems might include concerns over lost property, visits from family or friends, special religious or cultural requirements, or even serious allegations such as bullying. In addition, if something serious happens at the prison, for example a riot or a death in custody, IMB members may be called in to attend and observe the way in which it is handled.

IMB members sample food, can attend adjudications and should visit people held in the segregation unit. They must also be kept informed on such issues as the use of restraints.

The IMB meets regularly, usually once per month, and has an elected Chair and Vice Chair. Members work together as a team to raise any matters of concern and to keep an independent eye on the prison.


CLICK HERE - to read the latest IMB reports for any prison.

Click on the year and then select the prison.


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: April 2014

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