What's the overview?

Following the announcement of a national lockdown on 4th January 2021, Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has suspended social visits at all adult prisons in England and Wales for the foreseeable future - at least until the end of January 2021. Social visits to children in the youth estate will continue during this time.

Are there any exceptions?

Visits to adults in prison may be permitted on exceptional compassionate grounds which should be agreed in advance with the prison. There has been no specific guidance given about what might be considered exceptional compassionate grounds.

What about legal visits?

Official and legal visits will continue as necessary but will be carried out remotely wherever possible.

    What will it be like for prisoners during the new lockdown?

    • Prisoners will continue to receive £5 additional PIN credit per week. 
    • Mobile phones will be made available to prisoners who do not have access to in-cell phones.
    • In every prison, prisoners and families will have access to free video calls using Purple Visits.
    • Prisoners will receive at least their basic rate of pay for employment even if they are not working.
    • Prisoners will have free TV and free supplementary food packs.
    • In-cell learning packs will be made available to prisoners.

    How do I find out more?

    We are working hard to provide prison-specific information as soon as we receive it, through our digital prison Visitors' Guides. These guides are regularly updated to share the latest changes to local restrictions, visiting times and other useful information including contact details for the Pact team at each prison. 

    Where Pact does not provide visitors' services at a prison, we signpost to the other organisations and charities that are best placed to answer visitors' questions. Our aim is to make it as simple as possible for families to find the information they need to minimise confusion and anxiety around the visiting experience. 

    How else can I keep in touch with my loved ones?

    There are a number of other ways that you can keep in touch with your loved ones while visits are suspended. In every prison, prisoners and families will have access to free video calls using Purple Visits. Many prisons also now offer the Email-a-Prisoner service and/or Prison Voicemail. Where possible, we have shared details of other ways to keep in touch with your loved one on the Visitors' Guide for each prison.

    See some information that needs updating?

    We rely on a number of sources to keep our Visitors' Guides up-to-date. If you spot anything in our guides that needs updating, please get in touch with us on [email protected] and we'll make it a priority to make the change. 

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