If a member of your family is in prison, visits can help you keep in touch. You can also keep in touch by letter and your family member can contact you by telephone.
Generally, a prisoner is asked to nominate up to 6 people who may visit them. If you are not on the list you will not be able to visit.
There are rules about how many visits a prisoner is allowed and how the visits are conducted.
The names and details of all visitors are recorded, particularly young people under the age of 18 whose full name, date of birth, address and relationship to the prisoner should be included. All visits must be booked in advance on the prison telephone booking line. For some prisons you can book a visit online or in person at the visitors centre.
You should make sure that you have the right form of identification with you when visiting your family member. A current passport or driving licence would be suitable. If you do not have either, you should check what else would be acceptable when booking your visit.
No more than 3 people can come on a visit at the same time so make sure that no one else is visiting your family member on the same day. Anyone over the age of 10 counts as one person. Generally, there is no limit on the number of children under 10, but this can vary from prison to prison. Anyone under 18 years must usually be accompanied by an adult.
If you want to take things in for your family member, you must check what is allowed with the prison in advance. Anything you take in must be handed to the officer in charge of visits.
You cannot bring a mobile phone into the prison. Visitors are required to deposit their phones and any personal items in the area provided at the visitors centre before entering the prison.
Information on the rules and procedures for visitors for each prison is available on the Irish Prison Service website.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.