Visits

           

Update 28/04/20  - Updated 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 Q&A April 2020 (PDF)

 

 

Update 01/04/20 - New online facility to transfer money to those in our care

 

COVID-19 is impacting on all areas of life including those we care for in prisons and their families. Due to the restrictions introduced by the government about non-essential travel, you can no longer hand in money or property at establishments.

We recognise the difficulty that this causes many families and we have been quickly working on introducing a process where money can be transferred to those in our care electronically.

From today, the SPS can now accept money for prisoners transferred via your own online banking facility, set up to support those in custody during the COVID 19 outbreak. This will provide a safe way of sending money to friends and family.

For more information and instructions on how to use this facility, please click on the link below.

Online Banking Facility

Online Banking Facility (PDF version)

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 Q&A

Families and Visitors Q&A (PDF version)

 

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 Thursday 26 March. 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 are unable to discuss the detail of personal issues relating to individuals in our care. Your main point of contact should still be direct to establishments; however should you have specific worries about a relative in prison and are experiencing difficulties in making contact with the establishment, our staff will ensure that your concerns are passed on.

Update 23/03/20 - Suspension of Visits

COVID-19 is impacting all areas of life, including here in the prison estate. We have been considering all the necessary steps that we could take to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and difficult decisions have had to be made to protect the health of those living and working in our prisons. The Scottish Prison Service has today taken the difficult decision to suspend visits across our estate.

The situation is changing fast. In response to the rising concern from those in custody and from staff about visits, together with the reducing number of people attending visits and with Public Health advice to stay at home, we feel this is the right thing to due to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

This decision will come into effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020 across all establishments.   Critical agent visits will continue to be facilitated, however, with the reduction in court business, it is anticipated that these types of visits will reduce.

We are quickly working to look at ways in which we can support and maintain family relationships during this time.

This is also an anxious time for all living and working in our prisons. The situation is changing fast and we would like to assure you that we are working tirelessly to prepare for, and respond to the challenges we all face.

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Please visit the prison pages where your relative is located for visit times and information.

 

When you visit a prison you will need some form of photographic ID, you may also be asked for some additional ID.  Before you travel it is best to contact the prison to make sure you have the correct documents required.

Some examples of what would be accepted are one from section a plus one from section b below.

Section A – Government Issued Photographic ID

·         Passport
·         
Photographic Driving Licence
·         
PASS cards (Citizen card, Validate UK)
·         
National entitlement Card (Bus Pass)
·         
National Identity Card

 Section B – Proof of Address

·         Utility Bill (gas, electricity, mobile phone etc.)
·         
Paper Driving Licence
·         
Benefit Book
·         
Court Papers/Citations

Visit facilities are in high demand and spaces are limited. Therefore it is important that you arrive promptly for your visit and stick to your allocated time. If you are able to let us know that you are running late, we may be able to allow the visit. While there is generally a window of time to arrive, each prison will have cut off times and it may not be possible to re-book for the same day. If you are unsure about how to get to a prison, or for more information on visit times, please visit our prisons page.

Security

Our security when visiting a prison is similar to what you would expect at an airport. For your safety and security we operate robust security measures. 

Visits Process

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When you arrive, speak to a member of staff at the vestibule who will check your booking and your ID. 

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While security measures vary at different prisons dependent on the facilities, generally speaking you will be asked to place your belongings in a locker and proceed through a metal detector. 

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You may be asked to remove a belt or your shoes and there may also be ION scanners in place or dogs present.  The purpose of our security process is to ensure the safety of everyone visiting the prison.

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There will usually be a waiting room before you are called through to the visits area.

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Visit facilities vary between establishments but we strive to provide a welcoming and safe space for you to spend time together.

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There will usually be a children's play area available and Family Contact Officers to talk to.

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Occasionally there will be special events for families to attend and spend time together. 

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You can also visit the Family Centres/Help Hubs for more information, advice and support.

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Closed Visits

For security reasons you may be refused admission to the visits room and will be offered a closed visit. If you are unsure of what this means the following information may help.

The closed visit area is designed to prevent physical contact between prisoner and visitor.  This involves a number of cubicles separated from each other by a screen.  The visitor sits on one side of the cubicle, the prisoner on the other.  Unlike the main visit room there is no access to refreshments.