Pact’s Visitors’ Centre Service provides specialist trained staff, voluntary workers and resources to ensure that the visitors’ centre offers families, friends and official visitors a warm welcome, and the support needed to ensure that their visit is as positive an experience as it can possibly be. As in all our services, Pact offers an inclusive service, with staff who are culturally sensitive and responsive to the diverse needs of prisoners and visitors.

Our staff are on hand to offer emotional support to all visitors, as well as practical information about issues including travel and transport, explaining prison procedures in advance of entering the prison to go through to the visits hall. We provide additional support and reassurance to First Time Visitors, who are likely to be very anxious, including an especially warm welcome, information packs, and personalised support. We can also accompany particularly nervous visitors through the security checks on their first visit.

We provide a welcoming environment for prisoners’ families and friends and ensure that visitors feel they can ask for any advice and information they need before and after their visit.

As well as providing a friendly visiting space, a key outcome of this service is to link families with support in the community so that they can address issues outside of the prison including finance, debt, housing, mental health, domestic violence, childcare, parenting and more.

Our staff team also act as a vital support point for visitors post-visit where the visit has not gone well or they have concerns about the prisoner. Our staff can then liaise with Safer Custody and other teams within the prison where concerns over prisoner safety are shared.

Pact works closely alongside the prison to provide staff and resources to ensure that visitors have access to all the information they need in accessible formats. We also provide toys and activities for children to make the visiting process less distressing for them and we can also organise family days and child-centred extended visits.