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Keeping in Contact

Update 27/03/20 - Impact of COVID - FAQ's for Families and Visitors

COVID-19 is impacting on all areas of life including those we care for in prisons and their families. We have compilied answers to frequently asked questions which we hope you will find useful.Please click on the link below. These will be regularly updated to reflect the current situation.

Families and Visitors FAQs


Update 25/03/20 - Introduction of COVID-19 Family Support Helpline

A new family helpline will be available to provide support and advice to families of those in our care from 26 March 2020. Families can call 0131 330 3888. This service will be available Monday- Friday, 9am to 3pm.  As this is a new service, these hours will be kept under review and may be changed to reflect demand. 

Please note that we will not be able to answer enquiries about specific individuals, but can provide advice and guidance about the measures which the SPS are taking in response to COVID-19.

The Scottish Prison Service recognises that children and families are hugely motivating factors that can influence behaviour change and is committed to working with famis, community and voluntary sector partners in order to maintain meaningful family contact throughout a period of imprisonment.  We want to strengthen the relationship between the SPS and families affected by imprisonment to ensure that both prisoner and family receive the best possible support during this difficult time.


                                                                        Family leaflets

We now have Standards for Encouraging Family Contact which details the minimum level of support that is now available in every establishment. These standards became operational on 1st April 2013 and include five key standards;


  •         Access
            SPS will offer opportunities for children and families to maintain contact with their relatives. 
  •         Communication
            SPS will provide information which is accessible and meets the needs of families. 
  •         Participation
            SPS will actively encourage families to participate at key stages of a relative’s sentence. 
  •         Respect
            SPS staff will treat every visitor as an individual, and with dignity and respect.
  •         Safety
            SPS will ensure families visiting a relative in prison do so in a safe and pleasant environment.

There are various ways of keeping in touch with a family member in custody.  You may write, visit and use the “email a prisoner” scheme.