Skip to main content

Barlinnie is the largest prison in the country, receiving prisoners from the courts in the west of Scotland. 

The prison houses male prisoners, remand and convicted of all sentence lengths. There is also a national top end for those in custody who are life sentence or long term prisoners, approaching a potential release date. 

Exterior of Barlinnie Prison

Visiting the prison

Visiting the prison
  • These visits are booked by individuals in custody and it's their responsibility to inform their families/friends of the date and time. They are entitled to not less than 2 hours in any 28 day period.

  • At Barlinnie these visits are booked by prisoner's families, by calling the direct booking line on 0141 770 2109 (Weekdays 9am to 1pm, and 2pm to 4pm). 

    Visits must be booked 24 hours in advance.

  • To gain access to the prison for the purpose of visiting, you must have two forms of identification, one of which must be photographic ID. Entry to the prison will not be permitted without acceptable identification.

    The following examples shall be accepted as suitable for photographic ID purposes:

    • Valid Passport
    • Photographic Driving License
    • Citizen/Validate UK Card
    • Senior Citizens Bus Pass

    The following examples shall be accepted as suitable for proof of address provided it is less than 3 months old:

    • Utility bill
    • Council tax bill
    • Bank statement
    • Other letter from official source

    Official visitors require Identification cards. Agents are required to carry their Law Society of Scotland ID Cards.

  • There is a ramp for wheelchair access into the building and also a lift available to take visitors into the visit rooms. Everyone attending the prison for a visit must book in at the front desk, at least 15 minutes before the visit session starts. This is to allow sufficient time to process your details.

    On entering the main door of the prison, there is a front desk with prison officers staffing it. You will be required to present your identification to the staff. You will then be given a seat allocation for the visits room and then you will proceed to the visitors waiting area. In the visitor waiting area there is a crèche, toilet facilities, a baby changing area is available and an information hub. Loose change (no notes) and bank cards can be taken to the visit room. Everything else including outside clothing, bags and valuables must be deposited in a locker.

    All visitors will be given a rub down search by a member of staff.  At times, there may be the SPS Dog Unit operating at the visits – it’s nothing to worry about and you will be given instructions by the staff.  If you have any concerns at all – please talk to a member of staff.

    If you have a baby with you, you can take a baby bottle with milk – no baby food or glass jars are permitted. After a short time in the waiting area, you will be taken upstairs into the visit room where you will be directed to your seat. Visitors will be asked to take a seat and the prisoners will then be brought in.  The visit room has vending machines selling refreshments and confectionary, and a tea bar. There is also a play area staffed by Toybox, a volunteer organisation.

    Over and above normal visits entitlement, Barlinnie runs Childrens Visits which are available to all prisoners and booked by them. These visits take place in a unique purpose built room, brightly coloured, cartoon themed room with a large soft play area, toys and library. The purpose of this visit is to encourage interaction and family bonding through play and activities. Places are limited to 10 per session and offenders are allocated 1 per month. Prisoners should also an FCO for a Child Visit Application form. 

  • Our family contact officers offer support and information to offender’s families. They provide guidance and advice relating to any concerns or issues you may have about your family member during their time in custody. There is a referral box located in the visitor’s waiting area or speak to us directly. The Family Contact Team offer a range of programmes and activities for prisoners, and their families which include; family inductions, parenting courses, play and share visits and family events.

    Please contact the family contact officers with regards to family concerns, travelling, double visits, pregnant partners and any general enquiries either by calling 0141 770 2037 

    (FCO - The phone is not staffed at all times during the day, but there is an answer machine service so please leave your name and contact details and we will get back to you as soon as possible)

  • If you would like to speak to someone before or after your visit, the Croft Visitors Centre is based in the entrance area of HMP Barlinnie. The Croft is a small charity that provides support and information to the families and visitors of Barlinnie. They can provide information about prison procedures, travel expenses, and any other support you may need. They also work closely with other organisations who can offer specialist support to you and the person you are visiting.  

    Croft staff are available:

    • Monday - Friday
      • 10:00 - 20:00  
    • Saturday and Sunday    
      • 10.30 – 15.30

    You can also get in touch by email:  [email protected] or by telephone on 07484 664950 (10am-6pm 7 days a week).

    For more information, please visit their website.

  • The person in custody will request from residential staff items that he wants handed in and a pro-forma will be completed. They will then send the pro-forma to the visitor and the visitor will bring in the items along with the pro-forma where they will checked when handed into the front desk. The visitor must bring photo ID when handing in property. Please also note that only items on the pro-forma will be accepted.

    You can post in property for individuals, but they must have completed the pro forma prior to the items arriving. Mark the parcel for the individual’s attention.

  • You can post in property for individuals, but they must have completed the pro forma prior to the items arriving.  Mark the parcel for the person's attention.  To ensure the parcel arrives safely, you can send it recorded delivery (cost incurred at the post office). 

  • You may deposit money for a prisoner at the auto teller located in the vestibule area. You are required to know the person’s date of birth and number and you will be issued with a receipt. There is a maximum limit of £50 all prisoners. 

    There is no limit for remand prisoners, however large or irregular amounts of money will be reported to the appropriate authorities. Those handing in the cash will be asked to provide their name, address and relationship to the offender. We only accept cash.

  • You can post money in to a prisoner for their PPC. If you choose to do so, we strongly advise posting cash, cheques and postal orders using recorded/special delivery (costs incurred at the post office) . Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to the Scottish Prison Service, but please note the prisoner's details on the back.

    The most secure and efficient way of sending money is via your online banking. For full details on how to set up payments, please follow the link below. 

    Sending Money
  • Click here for information on the Scottish Legal Aid Board web site for solicitors looking to register for and use video link technology to conduct meetings with their clients in custody.

Visiting times

  • Barlinnie provided a unique drop-in service at the following times;

    • Monday to Friday
      • 08:30-16:30
    • Monday - Friday
      • 17:15-18:00 
    • Saturday and Sunday
      • 11:45-12:30

Getting in touch

Family and Friends

If sending a letter to a prisoner, put their name, prison number and location, followed by the prison postal address.


If you are writing to your client, the Scottish Prison Service considers that it is necessary that you adopt the “double envelope” process as recommended by the Law Society. It is the experience of the Scottish Prison Service that adopting this process ensures that your client receives his or her correspondence unopened and assists in mitigating the abuse of the right to receive such correspondence in this way. If you require further information you can contact us as follows:

How to get there

  • When travelling east on the M8 take exit at junction 12 Stepps and Riddrie. At the traffic lights turn right onto Cumbernauld Road (A80). After the library take the 1st left onto Teith Street, left onto Smithycroft Road, then first right onto Lee Avenue where the prison is located. 

  • When travelling west on the M8 exit at Junction 12, Stepps and turn left onto Cumbernauld Road (A80). After the library take the 1st left onto Teith Street, left onto Smithycroft Road, then first right onto Lee Avenue where the prison is located.

    Visitors can use the car park on the left as they come up the driveway to the prison. If there are no spaces in this car park then visitors will need to park on Smithycroft Road. The car park on the right is a restricted car park but the exception to this is at the weekend or in the evenings. Any person parked illegally will be asked to move their car. There are a limited number of disabled parking spaces available. Disable badges must be displayed. Visitors must not use the disabled parking bays unless they are displaying a current disabled parking permit/badge. 

  • Please note there are no direct train services to Barlinnie. The nearest stations are at Alexandra Parade and Carntyne.

    Please plan your journey and you can contact Network Rail on 08457 114 141 or for information.

  • The most frequent bus to Barlinnie is the number 38. This service is operated by First Glasgow from Eastwood Toll through to Garthamlock.  This service is especially useful for visitors using the rail network as it passes by both Queen Street and Central Stations based in Glasgow City Centre.  The number 38C bus also passes the prison. Before starting any journey you are advised to check with the local bus operators on 0141 423 6600 or

    For those unfamiliar with the exact location of the prison please exit the bus at Riddrie library and the cross the pedestrian crossing and walk up Lee Avenue, between the shops and the school.

History of the prison

1870s - 1880s

  • 1879 - Purchase of the land
  • 1882 - A Hall commissioned
  • 1883 - B Hall commissioned
  • 1887 - C Hall commissioned and old gate completed
  • 1888 - House for chaplain and doctor built outside gate

1890s - 1910s

  • 1890 - Link corridor A, B, C halls were built
  • 1892 - D Hall Commissioned
  • 1893 - Chapel completed and perimeter extended to build E Hall
  • 1896 - E Hall completed
  • 1908 - Old sheds built with alterations to E Hall

1930s - 1950s

  • 1933 - Alterations to D hall and new office block built adjacent to the gate
  • 1939 - Gymnasium and (old) Library built
  • 1949 - Handicraft workshop built
  • 1951 - Dining halls were built
  • 1954 - Old visits room completed
  • 1955 - Female block built (closure of Duke St)

1960s - 1980s

  • 1960 - Reception area reconstructed and V.T. introduced
  • 1968 - New sheds complete
  • 1972 - Special Unit in Female block (until 1994)
  • 1983 - Segregation Unit complete
  • 1989 - Observation bridges built