The panoramic view taken from the jailhouse cafe on Portland Dorset

Welcome to The Jailhouse Cafe

Jailhouse Café The Verne, Portland, and Jailhouse Café Guys Marsh, Shaftesbury, are run by Expia, a charitable company, and staffed by risk assessed prisoners on day release. We have had hundreds of prisoners placed at the Jailhouse Café The Verne since it started in November 2011, giving the men real work placements and training to prepare them for release.

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Jailhouse Café The Verne, on Portland, is fully open to the public and serves delicious café food. Situated through HMP The Verne’s tunnel at the top of Portland, in the heart of the World Heritage Site, the café enjoys panoramic views over Weymouth Bay, Portland harbour, and all along the Jurassic Coast.

It was set up with HMP The Verne but following changes there it is now supported by HMP/YOI Portland.


We are open every day except Monday and We serve light refreshments between 10am and 3pm and hot meals between 12 and 2pm.


The Jailhouse Cafe within the grounds of HMPYOI Guys Marsh in Shaftesbury opened in March 2013 for staff and visitors to the prison. Shortly afterwards it opened to the public five days a week, and served light refreshments and hot lunches. Find us within the grounds of HMP Guys Marsh, close to Gold Hill, Dorset.

The cafes stock a range of merchandise including mugs, t-shirts and bags that all help publicise the project. We are very grateful to customers who carry our bags and wear our shirts, and you can see some of them on our Facebook page.


Our cheerful, friendly cafés provide the perfect setting for a catch up over breakfast with friends, lazy family lunches or meetings with coffee and cake in a relaxed environment. Pop in and get a great meal whilst supporting a worthwhile project. We look forward to seeing you!


The Cafes operate by:

  • Risk assessed prisoners on day release from HMP/YOI Portland and HMP Guys Marsh running the Cafes.
  • Risk assessed prisoners maintaining the grounds and providing stewarding at events.
  • Marketing locally sourced chutneys and jams and other products produced by prison workshops..
  • Hosting events for local community groups.