2023 is likely to see further strike action by employees in England and Wales across the transport network, NHS, Royal Mail, schools and the civil service. This may affect how you can keep in touch with your loved one in prison.

Sending and receiving mail

While Royal Mail is doing all it can to minimise disruption to the general public, there may be significant delays, particularly for items posted before, on, or in the days after strike action. This means that it may take longer for you to receive letters from your loved one and for them to receive items you send to them in prison.

Upcoming Royal Mail strikes

Updated 3 January 2023.

There are currently no strike dates planned for 2023, but this may change if negotiations are unsuccessful.

Visiting a prison

Strike action by rail workers, bus drivers, and traffic officers is likely to affect how easily you can visit your loved one in prison. If you rely on public transport, be sure to check your route before you travel. Strikes may also see an increase in the volume of traffic on roads. You may therefore need to add extra time to your journey.

Upcoming transport strikes 

Updated 3 January 2023 - subject to change

3 January

  • RMT
  • National Highways

4 January

  • RMT
  • National Highways
  • Bus drivers employed by Abellio in south and west London

5 January

  • Train drivers represented by Aslef 

6 January

  • RMT
  • National Highways workers in the east Midlands and eastern regions

7 January

  • RMT
  • National Highways workers in the east Midlands and eastern regions

10 January

Bus drivers employed by Abellio in south and west London.

12 January

  • Prospect members who work on the Elizabeth line
  • Bus drivers employed by Abellio in south and west London 

16 January

  • Bus drivers employed by Abellio in south and west London.

19 January

  • Bus drivers employed by Abellio in south and west London.

25 January

  • Bus drivers employed by Abellio in south and west London.

26 January

  • Bus drivers employed by Abellio in south and west London.

Other ways to keep in touch

Phone calls

There are telephones in the prison available to prisoners, which they can use to keep in touch with families and friends. A prisoner can then only make telephone calls to those people he/she has elected to. The prison may also monitor calls. For more information, go to https://www.prisonersfamilies.org/staying-in-touch.

Prison Voicemail

The Prison Voicemail system is available in most prisons and enables family and friends to exchange voicemails with prisoners at convenient times and talk directly.

Calls to the voicemail service cost the prisoner the price of a normal landline call, and the family member can choose from a variety of minutes packages with prices ranging from 20p per minute to 5p per minute. To find out more, please visit www.prisonvoicemail.com.

Email a Prisoner

Email a Prisoner has systems set up in a number of prisons which enable families and friends to send emails to prisoners. This system does not provide a direct email to the prisoner. Staff in the prison post room print off the email, put it in an envelope, and deliver it to the prisoner with the rest of their correspondence. 

The cost of this is 40p per message, and some prisons have the option for the prisoner to reply back for an extra 25p per message. The contents of emails must follow the same rules as letters and telephone calls. At present, there is no facility for prisoners to email out. To find out more, please visit www.emailaprisoner.com. 

Secure Video Calls

Most prisons now use a system called Prison Video to offer secure video calls (some establishments use a similar app - Purple Visits). You will need to use an app on your phone or tablet to video call someone in prison. Prisoners are eligible for a minimum of 1 video call per month, calls last 30 minutes, and each prisoner can have up to 4 people on the call. For more information, go to https://www.prisonersfamilies.org/staying-in-touch.

Further support and advice

The Prisoners’ Families Helpline can offer free, confidential support and advice for prisoners’ friends and family members. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9 am - 8 pm, and weekends and bank holidays, 10 am - 3 pm (excluding 25 & 26 December).

t. 0808 808 2003

e. [email protected] (we aim to respond to emails within three working days)

w. https://www.prisonersfamilies.org/