Latest: March 2021.
26th February 2021.
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9 October 2020
What Covid Tier is a prison located in – Insert Prison Postcode Here
Prison visits in England
To find out which prisons are open for visits choose ‘PRISON ESTABLISHMENTS’ from our home page and select the prison you need information about
Prison visits in England
Local restriction tiers are in place in England.
Tier 1 and 2
In tier 1 and tier 2 areas, prisons will be opening for visits when it is safe to do so. This means that it’s important to check local guidance regularly as the situation in individual prisons may change.
Find out which prisons are open for visits – click PRISON ESTABLISHMENTS from out home page.
Tier 3 and 4
Prison visits continue to be suspended in tier 3 and 4 areas, except on exceptional compassionate grounds which should be agreed in advance with the prison. Visits to children will continue. Official/legal visits will continue as necessary but will be done remotely where possible.
Additionally, if you live in a tier 3 or 4 local restriction area you should not travel to visit a prison in another area – unless the visit has been agreed in advance by the prison on exceptional compassionate grounds.
Please visit the local restriction tiers page to find out what tier your area is in and the additional restrictions that apply.
If you are unable to visit a prison, you can still keep in touch. Find out about other ways of keeping in touch.
Prison visits in Wales
National restrictions are in place in Wales. Find out about the rules and what you can and cannot do.
Prison visits are suspended in Wales during Alert Level 4, which has been extended to the end of January 2021 – except on exceptional compassionate grounds which should be agreed in advance with the prison. Visits to children will continue. Official/legal visits will continue as necessary but will be done remotely where possible.
Additionally, if you live in Wales you should not travel to visit a prison in England during Alert Level 4 – unless the visit has been agreed in advance by the prison on exceptional compassionate grounds.
Contact someone in prison
If you are unable to visit someone in prison, you can contact them by:
- leaving a voice message using the Prison Voicemail Service
- sending an email using the email a prisoner service
- writing to them.
Additional temporary secure phone handsets were issued to all prisons that did not have in-cell telephony installed. More on telephone calls.
Many prisons and young offender institutions (YOI) across England and Wales have secure video calling. More prisons and YOI will provide this in the future. Video calls are currently free for both prisoners and their families. Find out which prisons and institutions have video calling.
What we are doing to keep people safe in prisons
Prisons are working with public health and NHS services and continue to prioritise the safety of staff, prisoners and visitors.
All prisons have introduced covid-secure ways of working. Prisons have procedures to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases and are prepared if cases are identified. Plans are in place for dealing with staff absences if staff working in prisons need to self-isolate.
Handwashing facilities are available to prisoners, staff and visitors and we have worked closely with suppliers to ensure the supply of soap and cleaning materials.
Changes to regimes
Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and to protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.
This means that whilst prisons will aim to maintain current regimes, temporary changes may need to be put into place. All prisons are different and regime changes may vary across the country. We will continue to follow public health advice in relation to prisons.
Parole Board hearings
The majority of Parole Board hearings are now taking place remotely. For the small number of cases that are so sensitive and complex that they require a face to face hearing, the Parole Board is working with prisons to establish arrangements for safe hearings to take place..
Find out more about Parole Board hearings.
How we will update you about the impact of coronavirus on prisons
We also have a range of ways to communicate advice and guidance to people in prison, including National Prison Radio
Urgent concerns about someone in prison
If you have urgent concerns about someone in prison you should contact the prison directly.
Other support for families
Prisoners’ Families Helpline
Telephone: 0808 808 2003
Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm
Families Outside Support and Information Helpline
For prisons in Scotland only
Telephone: 0800 254 0088
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Saturday and Sunday, Closed