Keeping in Touch with someone who is in Prison (2024)


You can write to an individual in custody as often as you like and there is not usually any restriction on the number of letters they can receive. When you write, remember to put the person’s prison number and name on the letter. Your family member/friend can write back to you and will be allowed to send one free letter each week. If they want to write more often they can, but will have to pay for the postage themselves.

From 13 December 2021, new legislation will come into force which may impact on the correspondence you are sending to your loved one. The SPS website provides further information.

Virtual Visits

It is now possible to book a Virtual Visit with your family member in prison. Unilink (the provider of virtual visits to Scottish Prisons) provide a Step by Step guidance sheet which can be accessed HERE

ThisSPS YouTube tutorialprovides further information on Virtual Visits, including how to book.

Virtual Visit Q&A is availablehere, as well as a Virtual Visit Myth Busting Sheethere.

Please contact the Families Outside Helpline with any questions or for further information.

Prison Voicemail

Prison Voicemail is now available in all establishments. Further information on how to use this facility can be foundhere.

Mobile Phones

The SPS have issued mobile phones to those in custody for use in their cells at any time. Each person in custody is allocated a monthly allocation of minutes, and the numbers they can access are moderated by SPS. In addition to a list of pre-approved numbers of family and friends, people in custody can access the Samaritans Helpline from these phones. These phones cannot accept incoming calls from family members. A mobile phone Q&A can be found on the SPS website here.

Email a Prisoner (EMAP)

You can send messages via the Email a Prisoner website, it takes only a few minutes to sign up and, the message gets delivered to the prison rapidly.

The systems allow you to write an email, press ‘send’ and the email will be delivered securely & ready for delivery to the prison of your choice. Your message is printed inside the prison and will be included in the daily mail delivery.

Unilink provide a Step by Step guidance sheet on EMAP which can be accessed HERE

Can I still hand in money and property to my loved one in custody?

Prisons are not currently accepting money or property being handed in. However, money and property can be sent in the post. If you intend to send cash in the mail, please refer to Royal Mail for guidance.

Money can also be transferred via an online banking facility. It is transferred from your own personal banking app and not via a Government or SPS website. Further details on this can be foundhereon the SPS website.

For those wishing to send money into HMP Addiewell or HMP Kilmarnock, please follow these instructions – Unilink – USER GUIDE – SECUREPAYMENTSERVICES – OCTOBER 2021

International money cannot be transferred using this service and can only be sent in the mail.

New PPC deposit machine at HMP Barlinnie

PPC payments can now be made via a cash machine in the Atrium at HMP Barlinnie to all prisons across Scotland excluding HMP Kilmarnock and HMP Addiewell. If this pilot is a success, SPS hopes to place the machines in other prisons. It is hoped this will help families who don’t have a bank account and therefore can’t use the online banking facility. Please note this machine is for PPC payments only and cannot be used to withdraw cash.

The machine takes cash maximum of £50 in the following denominations: –

£20, £10, £5 only (£50 notes are not accepted).

Machine instructions –

You need to provide the following information: –

Date of Birth for Prisoner

Prison number

The machine has a touch screen and will ask you for the above information. Once you input the details into the machine a blue light will flash for you to insert money. The cash machine will show you on screen how much money has been inserted. The cash machine again prompts you by asking if you wish to continue. Once you have placed the amount you want to go to PPC payment you should press continue. The Cash Machine will then produce a receipt for your retention.

For information on visiting someone in prison please see our visiting prison page.

Keeping in Touch with someone who is in Prison (2024)
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