Visiting Times

Visiting times will differ between establishments.

Please contact the prison directly or speak with a member of the visitors’ centre team for up-to-date information.  Contact details for each visitors’ centre can be found here Visitors’ Centres Contact Details

If you have any symptoms of covid 19 then please do not visit the prison. 

For other ways to keep in touch with someone in custody please see our Keeping in Touch page.

Claim for help with prison visits

If you visit a family member, partner or someone who does not get other visitors, you might be able to get help paying for:

  • travel to the prison
  • overnight accommodation
  • meals

For further information on how to apply, click here

Preparing for a visit

Some people may find visiting a prison daunting. This can be especially true for children or those who have never visited a prison before.  Families Outside have produced a booklet called My Visit:A photo guide which is designed to support children with what to expect when visiting a prison.

Although all prisons are different we hope this walkthrough at HMP Grampian gives you an idea of what to expect:


Visitors’ Centres

The majority of prisons in Scotland now have a Visitors’ Centre service for family members visiting the prison.  Visitors’ Centres are a vital service that:

  • improve the visits experience for people visiting their family member or loved one in prison by providing facilities and refreshments
  • provide families access to independent and impartial advice, information, and support; and
  • voice the needs of families affected by imprisonment to the Prison Service.

All Visitors Centres are operated by not for profit organisations, which are independent of the prisons they work alongside.  Each centre is managed by friendly, professional staff who provide a welcoming, family-friendly area which can offer information, support, or help to families visiting the prison.

Families Outside provides the national coordinating role for Prison Visitors’ Centres in Scotland.

Please click on the relevant prison link above for more information on the Visitors’ Centre at that prison or contact the Centre directly.  Contact details can be found here – Visitors’ Centres Contact Details

Further information can also be found on Twitter (@HMPJustVisiting) and Facebook (Prison Visitors’ Centres in Scotland)

Public Health measures in place across the prison estate:

All the measures below remain under review and are subject to escalation should a local or national outbreak occur.

Face Masks/Coverings

Face masks are no longer mandatory however the prison service strongly encourage all visitors over the age of 12 years of age, unless exempt, to wear one on entering the prison and until seated in the visit area.

Face masks are available in each establishment for visitors, staff and people in prison to wear, if they wish to do so.


Rules around hand washing and use of hand sanitiser should continue to be observed by all visitors. Hand sanitisers will be available both at the entrance to the prison and within the visit area. Where possible hand sanitiser will be available at the table, but where this is not possible, hand sanitiser dispensers will be in place within the visit area. Visitors will not be permitted to wear disposable gloves during their visit.

Social Distancing

Physical distancing is no longer mandatory. If visitors wish to continue social distancing, they may do so.

Please note, physical distancing measures may be reintroduced as a precautionary measure in times where there are positive cases within an establishment.

Visiting Group Size

This will vary between establishments so please check with the prison or visitors’ centre team before visiting.


Visitors and people in custody are permitted to eat or drink while seated during the visit.

Antibacterial/antiviral wipes will be made available beside the vending machines to allow cleaning by the visitor between uses.

Refreshment facilities may vary between establishments.

Triage Questionnaire on arrival at the prison 

All visitors on entry to the prison must complete a COVID triage questionnaire. If visitors answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, they will not be permitted to attend the visit. The questionnaire asks:

  • Have you tested positive for COVID in the last 5 days?
  • Do you have any of the following symptoms?
  • – High temperature or fever, New, continuous cough or Loss or alteration to taste or smell

In all establishments, the Governor retains the autonomy to consider individual visits regimes and in some cases, individual prisons may need to re-introduce restrictions on visiting and social contact in response to local outbreaks of Covid 19, so check with the prison before travelling.

Families Outside will provide information through Twitter, Facebook and our Helpline if we become aware of significant outbreaks in prisons or restrictions on visits.


Prison Information

For more information about Prison Visitor Centres – please view the Scottish Prison Services website.

This is a fantastic place to come before the visits. Having somewhere to sit and have a cup of tea and a chat makes what could be a tense place, a very relaxed environment. The volunteers are very friendly and welcoming! Thank you very much!

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