The National Offenders’ Families Helpline is now supporting families of prisoners and offenders in Scotland under contract to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).
The SPS recognises the negative impact that imprisonment can have on family life. That is why supporting and maintaining family links and promoting positive relationships generally while the family member is in prison is one of the SPS’ key priorities going forward. SPS recognise that such positive relationships can make a valuable contribution in supporting offenders to desist from further offending.
Please contact the helpline if you need support or advice about having a loved one serving a prison or community sentence on 0808 808 2003.
Finding out which prison someone is in
The prison someone is sent to in Scotland can depend on factors such as whether they are remanded or convicted, their gender, where they are from, and what space is available. Prisoners can also be transferred to other prisons for a range of reasons. When someone is sent to prison they are usually offered a chance to let family know where they are. If you haven’t heard from someone who is in custody in Scotland, you can email the SPS.
Booking a prison visit
Each prisoner has a list of visitors that may come to visit them. If they are not on that list you will not be allowed a visit. Each prison in Scotland operates bookings differently dependent on facilities. In some prisons the prisoner will book the visit and you will be notified, in others you will be able to phone and book. For details on how to book a visit at a specific prison, visit the prison information pages.
Visiting a relative in prison in Scotland
To find out visit times and information, please visit the prison pages where your relative is located. When you visit a prison you will need some form of photographic ID, you may also be asked for some additional ID. Before you travel it is best to contact the prison to make sure you have the correct documents required.
Keeping in touch
The Scottish Prison Service recognises that children and families are hugely motivating factors that can influence behaviour change and is committed to working with families, community and voluntary sector partners in order to maintain meaningful family contact throughout a period of imprisonment. Find out more about how to contact someone in prison.
Family Contact Officer
In Scotland, every prison has at least one Family Contact Office (FCO), a member of prison staff who is responsible for encouraging and maintaining links with families. The main role of the FCO is to offer support and advice for relatives who may have concerns about their loved ones. If you feel you may benefit from this please ask to speak to the FCO at the prison you are visiting. If the FCO is unable to assist you personally, they will put you in touch with someone who can. You can also speak with the FCO by telephone.