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Information for Families and Friends



Throughout this pandemic, we have been working on ways in which we can support those in our care and their families to maintain family contact. In recent months, more and more families are accessing advice and support from their local establishment, which is something that we would encourage you to do. Contact details for family support available at each establishment are provided via the link below. 

Establishment Family Contact Support Details

Visitor Centre Contact Details

Please remember that these contact details should be used for general family enquires. If you have immediate concerns about the wellbeing of an individual, please contact the establishment directly via their main switchboard number.

Please note: There may be variations to local arrangements because of local circumstances, please discuss your requirements with the establishment prior to your visit.

Visiting Guidance by Establishment


10 May 2022

We do strongly recommend that you test before a visit. It’s quick and easy to do and you can order test kits online at 

Please note, test kits are no longer available to collect from prison visitor centres.

All visitors on entry to the prison must complete a COVID triage questionnaire. If visitors answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, they will not be permitted to attend the visit. The questionnaire asks:

  • Do you or any member of your household/family have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?
  • Are you or any member of your household/family waiting for a COVID-19 test result?
  • Have you travelled internationally to any country which isn’t exempt from self-isolation rules in the   last 10 days?
  • Have you had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?
  • Have you tested positive for COVID in the last 10 days?
  • Do you have any of the following symptoms: high temperature or fever; new continuous cough or a loss or alteration to taste or smell?

Visiting Times

Visiting times remain altered to reflect staffing arrangements and the impact of Coronavirus in each establishment. Consequently, visiting times may differ between establishments. Information regarding local visiting times and arrangements can be found here.

Face Masks/Coverings

All visitors over the age of 12 years of age, and unless exempt, must wear a face mask on entering the prison, and until seated in the visit area; although not mandatory, wearing masks throughout the visits is strongly advised.

Visitors who advise that they are exempt from wearing a face mask will not be required to wear one. However, visitors who are exempt must advise the prison when booking the visit or prior to the visit taking place that they are exempt, to allow the prison to put in place any necessary arrangements required to safely facilitate the visit.



Rules around hand washing and use of hand sanitiser should continue to be observed by all visitors. Hand sanitisers will be available both at the entrance to the prison and within the visit area. Where possible hand sanitiser will be available at the table, but where this is not possible, hand sanitiser dispensers will be in place within the visit area. Visitors will not be permitted to wear disposable gloves during their visit.

Social Distancing

Visitors will be required to maintain a minimum of 1-metre distance from those not in their group within the establishment and whilst being escorted to and from the entrance to the visit area.

Visiting Group Size

Local risk assessments have been carried out in each establishment to determine the group size permitted to attend each visiting session. This may vary between each establishment; further details are available here.

Physical Contact

People in custody may make physical contact with their visitors, such as a hug or handshake, when they first greet at the beginning of the visit and when saying goodbye at the end of the visit. Both the person in custody and the visitor must be wearing a face mask where there is any physical contact.

Visitors under the age of 12 may have physical contact throughout the visit.

Anyone who is exempt from wearing a face mask/face covering must not make physical contact during the visit unless they are willing to wear a face covering for the duration of any physical contact.

Out-with the brief physical contact, all visitors should maintain a minimum of 2-metres distance between them and the person in our care.


Visitors and people in custody are permitted to eat or drink while seated during the visit.

Visitors should make only one trip to the coffee/tea bar or vending machine during the visit. Antibacterial/antiviral wipes will be made available beside the vending machines to allow cleaning by the visitor between uses.

Refreshment facilities may vary between establishments; more information can be found here.

Paying in Money

Please note we remain unable to accept cash payments made in person.

The preferred, easiest and quickest means for paying in money to people in custody in SPS establishments remains through online bank transfer with use of the Online Bank Transfer Reference Generator. Money is transferred from your own personal banking app and not via a Government or SPS website. Instructions on how to do so are available here. International money cannot be transferred using this service and can only be sent in the mail.

Cash sent via Royal Mail is also accepted. If you intend to send cash in the mail, please refer to Royal Mail for guidance, and note that this may take slightly longer to process. However, the most secure method of paying in money remains through online bank transfer.


Property will only be accepted when received through postal mail and can no longer be handed in to establishments directly.



We recognise the value and importance of family contact and the impact that the restrictions we have had to put in place, particularly the suspension of visits, have had on those in our care and their families.

A detailed Q& A explaining the registration and booking process can be accessed via the link below. We have also put together a Myth Busting Q&A of the most common questions.

Virtual Visits FAQ

Virtual Visits Myth Busting Q&A




VIRTUALIE APMEKLEJUMI - Jautajumi un atbildes Latviešu

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A short video outling the process can be accessed via SPS' YouTube channel at 

Families Outside are offering support to the families of those people in custody who may have difficulty in accessing Virtual Visits for a number of reasons. Please click on the link below for more information.

Supporting Virtual Visits (Families Outside Poster)




Prison Voicemail is now available in all establishments. Please click on the links below to access information provided by the company on how to set up this facility.

Prison Voicemail Information Sheet

Prison Voicemail Poster

Prison Voicemail Infomation Sheet for Foreign Nationals




Preparing for release will be a different experience for everyone; some families will be excited, others may be anxious or worried. Families Outside have developed a booklet which provides information and support to those who are nearing release and their families. You can access the booklet by clicking on the link below. 

Coming Home