Following the lifting of the national restrictions on 2nd December, prison regimes and social visits will be changing in some establishments.

Please note, prisons in Wales will continue to operate their existing regime which has been in place since 9th November when firebreak restrictions formally ended.

Below you will find general information on the changes that will come into effect from 2nd December and during the Christmas period.

From 2nd December

  • Prisons can return to their pre-lockdown regime, unless restrictions are in place due to an outbreak of cases in the prison or because of staffing levels.
  • This means that some prisons will be able to run some visits, in a restricted way, as they did before the most recent lockdown.
  • In general, unless restrictions are in place for the above reasons, prisons in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas can resume social visits.
  • Prisons in Tier 3 areas will not be able to resume social visits unless on compassionate grounds.
  • Visitors who live in Tier 3 areas cannot visit prisons in any location, unless on compassionate grounds.
  • When prisons revert back to their pre-lockdown regime, prisoners can resume having access to prison libraries, gym and PE facilities where these are Covid safe.
  • Visitors from England cannot visit prisons in Wales unless on compassionate grounds.
  • As before, prisoners and families can access free video calls, prisoners will continue to be given £5 additional phone credit and where in-cell phones are not available, mobile phones will be made available.

Christmas: 23rd – 27th December

  • Prisons in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas can resume social visits, unless restrictions are in place due to an outbreak of cases in the prison or because of staffing levels.
  • Prisons in Tier 3 areas will not be able to resume social visits unless on compassionate grounds.
  • Visitors who live in Tier 3 areas cannot visit prisons in any location, unless on compassionate grounds.
  • In line with the easing of restrictions in the community, cross-border visits will be allowed between 23rd - 27th December.
  • Prisons can operate a programme of faith services for prisoners where possible and Covid safe.
  • Family support services will be available for prisoners and families.

28th December onwards

  • Regimes will revert back to how they were from 2nd December up until 23rd December, unless the local restrictions have changed or if there is an outbreak of cases in the prison, or staffing issues.

What will it be like for prisoners during the winter regime

  • Prisoners will continue to receive £5 additional PIN credit.
  • Mobile phones will be made available where in-cell phones are not.
  • 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 unemployed.
  • Prisoners will have free TV and free supplementary food packs.
  • In-cell learning packs will be made available.

For more information

We will provide prison-specific visiting information as soon as we receive updates, and publish these on our prison Visitors’ Guides, providing up to date information on local restrictions, visiting times and other useful information.

Where Pact does not provide visitors' services at an establishment, 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. 

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 changes. 

Find out more