The Ormiston Families team is based in a bright and welcoming visitors’ Centre just outside the perimeter walls of the prison. We provide support, information and a personal welcome for first-time visitors to help them access the services available to them.
Booking a visit
All visitors to HMP Chelmsford must book their visit in advance. Visits can be booked online at here or by calling the Visits Booking Line on 01245 552265/552240. This line is open Monday to Friday 08:15 - 11:00 & 12:30 - 15:30. There is no booking line service on Bank holidays.
Monday - Thursday: 14:15 – 15:45
Saturday: 9:30-11:00 and 14:00 – 15:45
Sunday: 14:15 – 15:45
You cannot arrive later than 14:55 on afternoon visits and 09:55 morning visits as you will NOT be permitted entry.
The centre is open Monday- Thursday: 12:00- 16:15 and Saturday 08:00- 11:15 and 12:00- 16:15 and Sunday 12:00- 16:15.
Identification: You must bring your ID to every visit.
Acceptable forms of ID are: Passport, Photo card Driving Licence, EC ID card, Senior Citizen Public transport pass or Citizen Photocard – if you cannot provide one of the above then you will need TWO different items from the following list: Birth/Marriage Certificate (showing current name), Bank Statement (within last 3 months), Young Persons Proof of age card, Utility Bills (within last 6 months), Medical Card or Paper Driving Licence. The prison does not accept letters as a form of ID including police, benefits, solicitor etc. Student ID cards are also not an acceptable form of ID. Please note: if you do not produce ID you will be refused entry.
There is disabled access to the Centre and the prison. If possible, please inform staff of any additional needs prior to arrival. You can contact the visitors’ Centre on 01245 552452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are no parking spaces available at the prison for visitors. The nearest public car park is Riverside Ice and Leisure on Victoria Road approximately a 5 minute walk from the prison. There are 2 disabled parking bays available outside the prison entrance.
By public transport
Bus: 54 or 56 to andfrom Chelmsford Railway station
Walk: 15 minute walk from the station, follow the signposts
Taxi: There are taxis at the back of the station
Other local taxi numbers are:
Fairway: 01245 355555 Happicabs: 01245 443 443 Taxi Bus: 01245 350350
When you arrive
When you arrive at HMP Chelmsford, you will need to check in with our staff in the visitors’ centre, which is at the end of the main car park. Here you will be greeted by one of our volunteers who will explain the procedure. Visitor centre staff will check your ID and take your photograph and fingerprint.
Once checked in you can wait the in visitors centre until your number is called then you can make your way to the gate area.
All mobile phones and unauthorised articles must be left in the visitors’ centre. Please note, you can only wear wedding or engagement rings and small studs inside the prison. There are lockers available for this with a £1 deposit.
Once inside the gate area you will be searched by a member of staff. A sniffer dog will also be in attendance. You will be asked again if you are carrying any unauthorised articles. Once cleared, you can enter the visits hall and you must then report to the Prison Officer at the desk.
Inside the visits hall there is a refreshment bar providing hot and cold drinks and a variety of snacks and sweets.
There is a children’s play area inside the visits hall, although the area is staffed parents are responsible for their children at all times.
Concerns about a prisoner
Prison Service and Ormiston Families staff understand that prison can be a very difficult time, for both prisoners and their families. If you have any concerns about a prisoner at HMP Chelmsford, feel free to contact the Safer Custody team on 01245 552297. This is a confidential answer machine helpline for the prisoner’s families and friends to make the prison aware of any concerns regarding bullying, intimidation, suicide or self-harm. When leaving a message be sure to give the name and prison number of the person you are concerned about. These messages are checked daily. Please note: If you have any urgent concerns please speak to staff in the visitor’s centre or call the main switchboard on 01245 552 000.
- Children's visits - Children’s Visits are special visits for fathers/step fathers or brothers (for Young Offenders who lived at home before going into prison) to spend valuable time playing and talking to their children. One adult per family can accompany the children. Children must be 16 years old and under. The prisoner needs to apply for these visits via an application.
- Parenting courses - for dads or stepdads in prison.
- Play Area – an area for children to play in whilst on their visit.
- One 2 One prisoner support – information, guidance and support on a wide range of matters affecting prisoners’ families.
T: 01473 724517
E: Click here to email