Each prison varies with its guidelines to visits. Some issue a visiting order that is sent to the persons address, when in receipt of this you may book a visit. Be prepared to wait as the phone lines are always busy! These visiting orders must be brought to the prison on the day of the visit along with identification. Accepted Identification can be a driving license, passport or any official documentation, please check before visiting.
Some prisons leave a visiting order at the main entrance, so you need to book the visit then turn up with your ID and the VO should be there for you.
Most prison visit waiting rooms have children’s play areas and a tea bar.
Each prison will have their own rules as to how many people can visit at once.
Please book your visits as early as possible, they can be fully booked very often.
At most prisons, you will be sent a visiting order by your prisoner, and then you call and book the visit and bring the VO to the visit with you, which you hand in to reception.
Details of what identification is acceptable will be documented on the VO
A £1 COIN
Lockers are provided in the visitors centre for hand bags, phones, wallet, ID etc. You are not allowed to take anything with you into the visiting hall except for the key to this locker and a small amount of change for the canteen or vending machines. Make sure you have totally emptied your pockets else you will be sent back to your locker, shortening your visiting time.
MONEY FOR REFRESHMENTS
Refreshments are available in the visiting halls, either at a canteen or vending machines. Most prisons have a limit from £5 to £10 and most prisons require this to be in change only, no notes are permitted.
Most prisons have a metal detector that you may need to walk through (much like in an airport lounge) so all keys or change must be placed in a container while you walk through. Don’t panic if it beeps, things like jewellery and belts set, it off. An officer will give you a pat-down search and possibly a search with a metal-detector wand.
Drug sniffer dogs are normally at prison visits. If you are afraid of dogs or your children are, tell the officer who is handling the dog as they are used to things like this and will be careful not to frighten you. Normally you stand still and the dog walks past you, sometimes they stop for a sniff if you have animal scent on your clothes. Again, do not worry they exhibit different signals to the handler, from nosiness and sniffing, to alerting the officer that something is wrong.
If you are picked out by the sniffer dog you may be refused your visit or searched, sometimes if no illegal substances are found on you, you may be offered a closed visit (behind glass).
A major factor is also leave enough time for traveling, if you are late for a visit it is likely you will be turned away, this is also the case for leaving your Identification or VO behind.
If you are unsure about visiting information relating to the prison you are going to please phone the prison and enquire.