Visiting a prisoner
Isle of Man Prison
St Patrick's Close
Isle of Man
Telephone:+44 1624 891000
Arranging a visit
For a visit to be arranged, the visitor must be in receipt of a Visiting Order (commonly known as a VO), which will have been sent in the post by the prisoner. A VO is a form which a prisoner must complete in order for a visit to take place.
Once in receipt of a Visiting Order, a visitor must contact the visits booking service to book:
Telephone: +44 1624 891009 - open 9am to 5pm 7 days a week.
The visitor will be asked for the Visiting Order number and particular details about themselves and any other accompanying visitors.
Only approved visitors named on the VO will be allowed to enter the prison to visit the prisoner.
Most importantly, there is a need to safeguard and protect children from possible harm and therefore, children under the age of 16 will only be permitted to enter the prison in the company of an adult visitor.
Visitors aged between 16 and 18 years old who wish to visit without an accompanying adult, must first supply a written request, from their parent/guardian, giving consent for such visits to take place. Written authorisation may then be granted by the Prison Governor, which must be brought along to the visits session.
Visits take place every day of the week except Mondays and Wednesdays. There is always at least 1 session at 1.50pm to 2.50pm and if required, a second session between 3.20pm and 4.20pm.
There are no visits on Mondays and Wednesdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Senior Race Day.
Proof of identity
On arrival at the Isle of Man Prison Visitor Centre, visitors must identify themselves as being the person named on the VO by using 1 of the following methods:
- Current passport or time expired passports where the photograph is still recognisable
- Driving licence
- EU identity card
- Public Transport pass
- Employer's or student ID Card - but only if it clearly shows the name of the visitor and employer/educational establishment and has a photograph of the visitor or signature which can be compared with the visitor's appearance or signature, and if the employer or educational establishment is known to exist.
If the visitor is unable to produce any of the above, staff may accept a combination of 2 or more of the following:
- Birth/marriage certificate
- Benefits book
- Cheque book or credit card (counts as 1)
- Employer's pass or ID or student ID not acceptable as above
- Young person's proof of age card
- Trade Union or National Students Union membership card
- Library card if the signature can be confirmed as being the visitor’s
- Rent book
- Expired documents from the above lists that appear satisfactory in other ways
Staff may use their discretion to accept any form of identification, singly or in combination, that clearly identifies the visitor.
The Visitors’ Centre is located outside the main prison building, with the aim to provide a warm and friendly environment for families before and after a prison visit.
The Visitors’ Centre, which is open from 1pm on visit days, allows visitors to book in for their visit in plenty of time and gives families a space dedicated to them, where they can sit down and wait to be called.
Any property which a visitor wishes to hand in for the prisoner will be accepted in the Visitors' Centre between 1.30pm and 2pm for the first visit's session and between 3pm and 3.30pm for the second session. Any cash a visitor wishes to hand in for the prisoner will be accepted in the Gatehouse.
The Visitors’ Centre contains facilities for visitors to place items in secure lockers. Mobile phones are not permitted anywhere in the prison including the Visits Hall so must be left behind, either in a car, or in a locker provided, along with any headwear, sunglasses and other personal items.
All pockets must be emptied prior to entering the main prison building. Visitors keep the keys to these lockers with them until they exit the prison after the visit.
A small amount of cash in coins is permitted to be taken into the Visits Hall to purchase drinks and snacks from vending machines. No other items are allowed to be taken into the prison.
Toilet and baby changing facilities are also available within the Visitor Centre.
Giving money to a prisoner
A visitor may hand in cash for the prisoner they are visiting, for which they will receive a receipt. The cash will be transferred into the prisoners' private cash account. Whilst cash is the most preferred method, the Isle of Man Prison does accept cheque or postal order payments, which should be made payable to the 'Prisoners' Private Cash Account'.
Prisoners' property is subject to security and volumetric control guidelines and as such, only a limited amount of clothing and property is permitted. Items such as;
- Guitar strings.
are only allowed to be purchased by prisoners from the prison canteen and visitors should not attempt to hand such items in or send by post. The prison will return any items sent to the prison direct from catalogues/online suppliers and retailers in line with the prison policy. Visitors are advised to check with the person they are visiting or prison staff as to what is allowed/ required. Alternatively, a visitor can contact the prison directly on +44 1624 891000 for specific enquiries.
Note: Property may only be handed in for prisoners during weekday sessions.
It is a criminal offence for any item to be brought in to a prison with the intention of giving it to a prisoner, without prior permission.
The following items are not allowed to be taken into the prison by visitors:
- Mobile phones, cameras or recording equipment
- Any smoking materials (including matches or lighters)
- Any consumables, including foodstuffs, beverages and chewing gum
- Excess cash
- Computer discs, DVDs or similar items
- House or car keys
Any visitor considered to be unfit to visit due to the excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs will be refused entry to the prison.
If visitors are found in possession of an illegal substance they may face additional security measures previously referred to.
If a visitor is worried about drugs or being pressurised to traffic drugs for a prisoner, please speak with a member of staff before leaving the prison. Alternatively phone the prison on +44 1624 891000.
The Isle of Man Prison and Probation Service is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone who lives, works in and visits the prison. Searching those who enter the prison is one way of achieving this aim.
Staff who carry out such searches do so with sensitivity. The search consists of a combination of X-ray and metal detector (similar to the airport) plus a rub down search by a trained member of staff.
Being searched by dogs
Passive drugs dogs may be on duty. If so, a visitor will be asked to join a line of other visitors as they enter the prison. The dog and handler will pass along the line, and the dog will sniff for drugs. If a visitor is afraid of dogs, a member of staff should be informed.
It is important for visitors not to touch the dog during the search procedure. Should the dog indicate on a visitor, this means that the dog has alerted the dog handler that the visitor may have in their possession, or may have been in the presence of, a class A, B, or C controlled drug.
If this situation occurs, the visitor will be taken to one side to answer some questions and may then be asked to have a closed visit with the prisoner, that is a visit without physical contact and behind a glass screen.
If any person is caught in possession of drugs or any other prohibited item, they may be banned from future visits and the police may be called to investigate further. This could lead to an arrest and possible prosecution, resulting in a period of imprisonment.
What happens during a visit
On entering the Visits Hall, a visitor will be allocated a numbered table with fixed seating.
Prisoners and their visitors are only allowed limited physical contact during a visits session. It is acceptable to kiss the prisoner at the beginning and at the end of the visits session. Other than young children, visitors are not allowed to sit on the lap of the prisoner and the sharing of seats is not permitted.
There is a play area within the Visits Hall, which is enhanced at weekends by the presence of the Mothers Union volunteers.
Visitors must ensure that any visiting children do not run around the Visits Hall. At all times, children remain the responsibility of the visiting adult.
Prison staff are present in the Visits Hall to maintain security and also to make sure the visit runs smoothly and that the area is safe and comfortable for visitors and prisoners alike.
Raising concerns about a prisoner
If there are any serious concerns about a prisoner's safety or wellbeing, for example:
- Being bullied
- Subjected to any other abuse
The visitor may speak with a member of staff before leaving the prison, complete one of our visitor feedback forms, available in the Visitors' Centre, or contact the prison on +44 1624 891000.
Any information will be passed to a member of our safer custody team, who will deal with the situation sensitively and appropriately.
Themed ‘family visits’ occur 3 times a year at Christmas, Easter and during the school summer holidays. These extended visits are designed to create a more relaxed atmosphere where prisoners and their children can spend the day in a family environment. Prisoners are nominated for a family visit by a member of staff and acceptance is dependent on their behaviour and work ethic.
Making a complaint
- Speak to an officer before you leave the prison
- Complete a feedback form
- Contact the prison, tel: +44 1624 891000