https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2014/09/15/you-can-now-book-a-prison-visit-online/

You can now book a prison visit online

You can now book a prison visit online

Booking a prison visit should be simple and straightforward. Until now that was far from the case. Booking a visit required both prisoner and visitor to jump through hoops: paper forms and drawn-out phone calls. And if the visit date turned out to be impossible, they had to start all over again.

Now you can book a visit online. It takes about 5 minutes. Before, picking an available date was pot luck. Now there's a date-picker that lets you select 3 possible slots instead of 1. It’s a straight-forward service with user-needs at its heart but, if you get stuck, you can call the prison's visits booking line and someone will help you with the booking.

Here's a very short film we've made about it:

By making it easier to book visits, prisoners will see more of their friends and family. Evidence suggests this will help their rehabilitation. Transformation isn't just about websites.

The service was built by the Ministry of Justice, with a combined team from the National Offender Management Service, HM Prison Service and MoJ Digital Services.

For more of the story behind this service, read Mike Bracken's account of his trip to HMP Rochester or check out the service’s transformation page.

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20 comments

  1. carole

    How far in advance can you book visits

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    • Carrie Barclay

      Hi Carole. You can book up to 28 days in advance. Thanks for your question.

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  2. Ilysa Mcnally

    How late in advance can I book e.g. book a visit today (Tuesday) for the Sunday coming???

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    • Carrie Barclay

      Hi Ilysa. Thanks for your question. A visit needs to be booked 3 working days in advance. So in this case, the visit request would have to be no later than Tuesday to allow for a visit on Sunday.

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  3. jessicca

    What happens after you book the visit and its confirmed by email do you need the visiting order ?

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    • Carrie Barclay

      Hi Jessica

      The Visiting Order (VO) number is generated by the booking system, it is included in your confirmation email and you will need this to change or cancel a booking.

      However, if you're visiting a prison the guidance is that you only need your ID, not the VO number. If when you visit the prison you are asked for the VO number you should report this via the Contact Us link on the Prison Visits Booking form.

      I hope that helps.

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  4. Shawnaa

    i have a visit booked which i did online but i do not have a visiting order woll the prison let me in?

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    • Carrie Barclay

      Your identity will be checked on arrival to make sure you’re on the visitor list.

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  5. c.steer

    So how do I find the booking form to fill in I am new to computers

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    • Louise Duffy

      Hi there,

      Here's the link to the booking form: https://www.gov.uk/prison-visits

      You'll need this information to complete the form:

      prisoner number
      prisoner’s date of birth
      dates of birth for all visitors coming with you
      make sure the person you’re visiting has added you to their visitor list

      Hope that's useful.

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  6. Debs

    Hello
    Is there a list of prisons where online booking can't be used?

    Thanks

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    • Louise Duffy

      Hi Debs,

      According to the information on this page: https://www.gov.uk/prison-visits, you can arrange a visit to any prison in England and Wales through this service. If you're visiting someone in Northern Ireland or Scotland you'll need to contact the prison directly.

      This link also lists the type of visits that are not covered by the online service: https://www.gov.uk/prison-visits so you need to get in touch with the prison directly.

      Hope that's helpful.

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  7. Paige

    Hi my partner was sent to nottingham today, I was on his previous list 4 months ago for a visit. Will that still be on the system all will it have to he put through again if so how long does it take to be approved for a visit?
    Thanks
    Paige.

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  8. Olivia

    Hi,
    If a visit is booked and someone cant make it, is it possible to change the name of one of the people to someone else?

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  9. linda

    This service does not appear to work this is day 2 trying to use it

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  10. Pauline

    How do you find out the prisoners number??? so you can go ahead with online booking of a visit?

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