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In this


Prison Name
Morag Stirling
Deputy Governor
Gerry Watt
Old Inverkip Road
PA16 9AJ

Greenock’s range of prisoners is one of the most diverse in the SPS. We manage adult male and female prisoners for those with short term sentences, long term sentences and on remand. We also manage long term males in our national Top End facility, Chrisswell House.

Accommodation comprises of three main residential areas:

Ailsa Hall has 133 cells and accommodates a male, predominantly local        population including remand and short term convicted prisoners.

Darroch Hall accommodates a mix of short-term female convicted and untried prisoners. It has 54 single cells and one safe cell.

Chrisswell House accommodates long term males who are low supervision.               There are 64 single cells over two floors.


Greenock was built between 1907 and 1910, replacing the Nelson Street prison which was adjacent to the existing Sheriff Court building. The local newspaper of the day reported taking its first prisoners on 28 August 1910;

The prisoners in Nelson Street will flit to their new abode on Tuesday. The prison, which stands majestically on Knowe on the High Inverkip Road, has been medically inspected and found in fit condition”

Greenock received its prisoners on 23 August 1910.The prison was opened with just two residential buildings, Ailsa Hall and Darroch Hall, with a third unit, Chrisswell House, opening in 1996. Chrisswell was built with the specific needs of long-term prisoners in mind. Greenock had always been a male prison until the introduction of females in 2002.

Greenock is generally a local community facing prison, receiving prisoners predominately from the courts in Greenock, Campbelltown, Oban, Dunoon and surrounding Inverclyde and North Strathclyde areas. The current design capacity is 249 and hold on average 242 prisoners per day.


If you need to contact the establishment, here are some useful numbers - 

Main switch board   01475 787 801

Family Contact Officer  (ext 393213) (FCO - The phone is not staffed at all times during the day,  if you are unable to get through and require assistance please dial the main switchboard and press 0 to speak with an Operator).


Family and Friends Visits booking Line: 01475 883 300

Open 09:00am – 11:30am (Monday – Friday) and

09:00am – 11:00am (Saturday – Sunday)

If sending a letter to a prisoner, put their name, prison number and location, followed by the postal address.

e.g.    123456 S Smith
           Ailsa Hall 1/23
           H M Prison Greenock
           Old Inverkip Road
           PA16 9AJ


Agents Visits Booking Line: 01475 883 333 – Open 09:30am -11:30am  (Monday to Friday).

Legal Visits by Video link can also be booked via this booking line.  Click here for information on the Scottish Legal Aid Board website for solicitors looking to register for and use video link technology to conduct meetings with their clients in custody.”


If you are writing to your client, the Scottish Prison Service considers that it is necessary that you adopt the “double envelope” process as recommended by the Law Society. It is the experience of the Scottish Prison Service that adopting this process ensures that your client receives his or her correspondence unopened and assists in mitigating the abuse of the right to receive such correspondence in this way. If you require further information you can contact us as follows:


tel: 0131 330 3500

By Car
From Glasgow continue on M8 past Glasgow Airport and follow signs for Greenock. Once through Port Glasgow and into Greenock (still on A8/M8), carry on to the first set of actual traffic lights (disregarding pedestrian crossing type lights). These lights are easily identified by the fire station on the left and a Morrison's supermarket facing. Turn left at the fire station. The road goes under a railway bridge, up a steep hill (Baker Street at that point) and round a bad bend at the top (same road now becomes Drumfrochar Road). Follow this road (it becomes Cornhaddock Street at some point) until you come to a high school on the left. Just past the gates of the school turn right into Columba Street. This is a short street. Go to the end of it (there is a telephone box facing you) and turn left into Thom Street then left again into Old Inverkip Road. The prison car park is 50 yards up the hill on the left.

From Largs
, follow the signs for Greenock on the A8, continue through the first roundabout signposted Greenock town centre on to the dual carriage way, the IBM factory will be on your right hand side, at next roundabout beside Lady Alice school take first left on roundabout then take first right into Old Inverkip road. The prison is 50 yards up the hill on the right.

From Dumbarton / Clydebank cross the Erskine Bridge following signs for Greenock on entering Greenock follow the above directions from Glasgow.

From Oban, See local bus and train times to Glasgow and then follow directions by rail or road.

Visitors may use any of the two car parks facing the prison We have one car parking space available for disabled drivers situated directly outside the main gate, and there are two in our main car park.

By Bus
From Glasgow, take the 906 McGill's bus from Buchanan Bus Station. Get off the bus on Inverkip Road at Barr's Cottage (just after Greenock South West Library). Walk back towards the library and then turn right, walk up the hill of Old Inverkip Road for approximately 50 yards, HMP Greenock is on the right at the top of the hill.

From Largs
, take the 906 McGill's bus or 585 Stagecoach bus. Get off the bus on Inverkip Road at the Barr's Cottage (beside the Londis Store). Cross Inverkip Road and walk towards the library, just before the library turn left, walk up the hill of Old Inverkip Road for approximately 50 yards, HMP Greenock is on the right at the top of the hill.

Please note there is no direct bus service from Paisley to Greenock, See details below for directions by train from Paisley Gilmour Street.

By Rail
From Glasgow / Paisley there is a frequent rail service departing from Glasgow Central passing through Paisley Gilmour Street with various stops along the way. Take the Gourock train and get off at Greenock West; this will leave you in closest proximity to the Establishment. There is a taxi rank immediately outside the train station. Alternatively, to walk to the prison (about 1 mile), on leaving the station you should cross over towards the pharmacy and go up the steep hill called Orangefield (you should pass a church on your left called St Patricks) and proceed up the hill. (The street name changes to Brachleston Street) Keep going straight. Shortly after the hill levels you will see bowling greens on your right and a children's play park. Immediately before the play park veer left onto Old Inverkip Road and again proceed up this hill. We are on the left at the top of the hill.

From Dunoon
 there is a frequent rail service departing from Gourock station, get off train at Greenock West station and follow directions as above or refer to local map on page.

From Rothesay arrive at Wemyss Bay and there is a frequent bus that will take you to Greenock, get off bus at Inverkip Road at Barr's cottage, across from the library.

To gain access to the establishment for the purpose of visiting, you must have two forms of identification, one of which must be photographic ID. Entry to the prison will not be permitted without acceptable identification.

The following examples shall be accepted as suitable for photographic ID purposes:

·         Valid Passport
·         Photographic Driving Licence
·         Citizen/Validate UK Card
·         Senior Citizens Bus Pass
·         Workplace photo ID card
·         Photographic Bank Card
·         Other official photo ID i.e. membership card

The following examples shall be accepted as suitable for proof of address provided it is less than 3 months old:

·         Utility bill
·         Council tax bill
·         Benefit book
·         Bank statement
·         Other letter from official source

On arrival at Greenock for a visit
You should arrive at least 30 minutes before the visit session starts.  This is to allow sufficient time to process your details and allow you to go through the security procedures.

On entering the main door of the prison go to the desk on the right, as you walk in. You will be greeted by staff who will ask for the information of the prisoner you are visiting. At this point you will be required to present your identification to the staff and then you will be allocated your table number for the visit.

You will not be allowed to take in any mobile phones, cameras, purses or wallets (however you are allowed to take up to £10 in cash into the visit for the use at the café). There are lockers for any belongings you are not permitted to take into the establishment. You will need a £1 coin to operate the locker which is refundable. If you have a baby with you, you can take essentials such as a change of nappy, baby wipes and plastic baby bottle with milk – baby food is not permitted.

All visitors will be asked to walk through a metal detector and given a rub down search by a member of staff. Your belongings will be put through an x-ray machine. At times, there may be the SPS Dog Unit operating at the visits – it’s nothing to worry about and you will be given instructions by the staff.  If you have any concerns at all – please talk to a member of staff.

After a short time in the waiting area, you will be taken to the visits room. You will be asked to take a seat at the table you have been allocated, and the offenders will then be brought in. Five minutes before the end of the session, you will be made aware, At the end of the session prisoners will leave first and then visitors will be asked to exit.

There is always a Family Contact Officer (FCO) available for anyone wishing to speak to them throughout the visits. We provide a small café during all sessions, with limited stock, selling tea, coffee, soup, crisps and sweets. There are toilet facilities, including disabled toilets and baby changing facilities available as well as a children’s play area, which is unsupervised therefore supervision is the responsibility of parents. Greenock can facilitate those who may require wheelchair access or who have mobility difficulties. If you require additional assistance please do not hesitate to contact us prior to attending. 

Handing in Property

Only property for which an approved pro-forma has been completed in advance by the individual offender will be accepted during visiting times.  Officers will list the property and seal the list and property in a bag. This will take place in the visitor's presence. Visitors will not be permitted to take property into the prison. Any property which has not been subject to prior approval will not be accepted into Greenock.

Handing in Money

All cash, cheques and postal orders for prisoners received at Greenock vestibule will be counted in the presence of the visitor. A maximum of £50.00 will be allowed with the amount and intended recipient details recorded in an appropriate record. The visitor’s details will be recorded and they will be asked to sign the record as confirmation that the details are correct.

The cash, cheques and postal orders will be secured in appropriate storage until to the cashier who will check the details and credit the money to the individual prisoners’ account. These can be handed in during visit times.
Please make cheques and Postal Orders payable to the ‘Scottish Prison Service’

Posting in Property

Only property with an approved pro-forma will be accepted. Officers will list the property and seal the list and property in a bag.

Posting in Money 

You can post money in to an offender for their PPC, however we would strongly recommend using the online banking service or recorded/special delivery (costs incurred at the post office) when posting cash or you can post a cheque or postal order (again there is a cost incurred at the post office for the order) in.  Both of these should be made payable to the Scottish Prison Service, but please note the offenders details on the back of the order or cheque.

All cheques and Post Orders for offenders received at Greenock will be confirmed in the presence of the individuals. This will be annoted and signed for before being transferred to the cashier for processing. A maximum of £50 will be allowed with the amount and intended recipient details recorded in an appropriate records. One per offender per day. Any money sent to a offender from an anonymous source will be marked on the offenders account as “un-cleared” and will remain so until either the sender can be verified by the offender or until release. It will remain at the Governors discretion whether to release the funds, even if the sender is identified, if there is reason to doubt the validity of the transaction.

If you are sending a letter or package to a prisoner, put their name, prison number and location, followed by the postal address;

e.g. 123456 S Smith
        Ailsa Hall 1/23
        HMP Greenock
        Old Inverkip Road
        PA16 9AJ

Comments/Complaints about the prison

We hope your experience visiting Greenock prison is as positive as possible. If, however, you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the prison, please in the first instance approach any member of staff in the vestibule area at the front gate, who will endeavour to assist you with your concerns. All complaints will be brought to the attenetion of the Duty Operations Manager who will attempt to resolve it at the earliest opportunity. All written complaints should be addressed to the Governor who will then forward to the appropriate department for a response.

Visiting Times

Visiting Times

15:10 – 15:55 Ailsa Hall
18:45 – 19:30 Darroch Hall
19:50 – 20:35 Ailsa Hall
15:10 – 15:55 Darroch Hall 
18:45 – 19:30 Chrisswell House
19:50 – 20:35 Ailsa Hall 
15:10 – 15:55 Chrisswell House 
18:45 – 19:30 Ailsa Hall
19:50 – 20:35 Darroch Hall 
15:10 – 15:55 Ailsa Hall 
18:45 – 19:30 Darroch Hall 
19:50 – 20:35 Chrisswell House 
15:10 – 15:55 Ailsa Hall Visits
18:45 – 19:30 Chrisswell House
19:50 – 20:35 Ailsa Hall Visits
13:45 – 14:45 Mixed Halls (Children's Visits)
15:15 – 16:15 Ailsa Hall / Chriswell House
13:45 – 14:45 Ailsa Hall / Chriswell House
15:15 – 16:15 Darroch Hall