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Prisons: Visits

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL10280, tabled on 12 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in increasing awareness of the Assisted Prisons Visits scheme among (1) prisoners, and (2) visitors, since the publication of the report by the National Offender Management Service Families Do Matter Project Report 2009, which found that 38 per cent of prisoners and visitors were unaware of that scheme.

Answered on

26 November 2020

A new online Help with Visits service (formerly known as the Assisted Prison Visits Scheme) was introduced in June 2017 to simplify the application process and the ease of access to the service for members of the public who are visiting prisons.

Family service providers have continued to assist HMPPS with raising the profile of the Help with Visits Scheme and, through their service user forum, have provided feedback on the design of the updated literature. This will be launched once Covid-19 restrictions ease across the prison estate.

Additionally, a pilot across a number of prisons will be used to review eligibility criteria to help inform potential changes that may be made to improve access to social visits for prisoners and their families.