Can I get help with the cost of prison visits?

It has been proven that it is crucially important for prisoners to maintain contact with their families and friends whilst they are serving their prison sentence. By maintaining relationships people are less likely to reoffend when they are released from prison. Often many of the prisons are difficult to reach by public transport and it can be logistically challenging if you have young children or a disability.

If you’re aged over 16 (Scotland only), you may get help with the cost of visiting a close relative or partner in prison.

To be able to claim you must be in receipt of one of the following

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal credit
  • Tax credits
  • Pension credit
  • Health Certificate 2
  • Health Certificate 3

There have been changes to the application process for Assisted Prison Visits Scheme (APVS).  In most cases claims must now be made using the online form.  Applicants can also add photos of eligibility, receipts, confirmation of visits or rail tickets.

Applying online

The following Assisted Prison Visits Scheme Guide has the online application link within it on page 3.

The old paper claim forms are no longer being accepted.  Applicants who have difficulty accessing the online form or making a claim online should contact the Digital Assist phone line on 0300 063 2100 which can provide advice and support for online claims or issue a paper application form if necessary.

In most cases payment will be made directly to the applicant’s bank account within a few days of submitting a claim.  Applicants who do not have access to a bank account can be sent a payment voucher, which comes by post from the Post Office and takes the form of a barcode.  This can then be cashed at any Post Office.

The following information may also help you in completing an claim to the Assisted Prison Visits Scheme:

You can also find out more by contacting the Families Outside Support & Information Helpline or the Assisted Prison Visits Scheme.

Families Outside Support and Information Helpline
Freephone 0800 254 0088
Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Assisted Prison Visits Scheme
Freephone 0300 063 2100
Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Or you can write to the Assisted Prison Visits Scheme:

Assisted Prison Visits Scheme
PO Box 2152
Birmingham B15 1SD


FREE Travel Service, Sacro

Visiting someone in prison? Sacro can help with travel to many Scottish prisons.  When prisoners keep up contact with family and friends they are less likely to get into trouble when they are released.  To see if you are eligible for this FREE service please contact:

Joan Alexander, Travel Service Coordinator, Sacro

Telephone 0131 622 7500 or email



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