COVID-19 Information Hub


The safety and wellbeing of those living and working in our prisons is a priority for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS). We are working with the Scottish Government, Health Protection Scotland, our NHS colleagues and a range of other partners on a daily basis to manage the unprecedented challenges we are all now facing.

The SPS has robust pandemic plans in place which are implemented on a phased basis in response to escalation demands. We continue to follow public health advice, which means that anyone in our care who displays symptoms of the virus will be asked to self-isolate, as well as those how may have been in contact with that individual.


As at Monday 16/05/2022 there are currently 131 individuals who are self-isolating across 8 establishments. A significant number of individuals are self isolating due to potential contact with a confirmed case.

There are 58 confirmed cases of COVID amongst those in our care.


We continue to work closely with Public Health colleagues in the relevant health boards in managing these cases.



10 May 2022


We do strongly recommend that you perform a lateral flow 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?

o   high temperature or fever

o   new, continuous cough

o   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.


Establishment Family Contact Support Details

Visitor Centre Contact Information

Visiting Guidance by Establishment - January 2022

Virtual Visits Mythbusters

Online Bank Transfers




The SPS is pleased to publish our COVID 19 Route Map which is guided by the Scottish Government's own plan. This plan represents a series of connected, and carefully controlled steps which will be taken to ensure that SPS can move forward, whilst acknowledging the measures we will have to continue to take, such as physical distancing and handwashing to help prevent the spread of the virus or further outbreaks occurring. The SPS will continue to be subject to scrutiny by the independent Inspectorate of Prisons in Scotland and to be accountable to Parliament.

The plan, and underpinning Physical Distancing guidance, focus on the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and from Phase 2 to Phase 3.

Our organisational progress and establishment regime development is premised on:

a) having the appropriate level of staff resource available to safely make these changes for all who live, work and visit our prison estate; and

b) having a full suite of health and safety assessments which underpin safe working. 

Based on this approach, it may be the case that the SPS will have to move at a different pace from wider society. We will provide more detailed guidance around key dates and what they mean in due  course. Please  note that the Route Map is a dynamic document subject to flex dependent upon changes in guidance and advice.







Early Release Data

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 provides new powers for the early release of a specific class of prisoners held in Scottish prisons. Our Early Release Tranche 1, 2 & 3 Reports are available via the links below.

ER Tranche 1 Report

ER Tranche 1 Report Tables (Excel)

ER Tranche 2 Report

ER Tranche 2 Report - Tables

ER Tranche 3 Report

ER Tranche 3 Report - Tables (Excel)



Any contractor, supplier or external partner carrying out essential work within, or delivering essential supplies to, our establishments shall, in terms of their health and safety relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, be safeguarded on an equal basis as SPS employees.

The SPS is applying the same social distancing principles that you will find in any public environment, as advised and guided by Health Protection Scotland.

The guidance document below has been produced to provide important information and advice for non-SPS staff entering our establishments.

COVID 19 Prevention Awareness (NEW) February 2021

COVID Guidance for Suppliers and Contractors Updated September 2020

Face Mask and Face Coverings Guidance