What to expect when you visit a prison
Once you have been given permission to visit a prisoner or detainee and you have phoned and booked your visit time you should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start time of the visit.
At every visit you must provide one of the following forms of current photographic identification:
- Australian photo drivers licence
- Australian passport
- Personal Information Card (issued by Service Tasmania)
- Defence Force, Police Service or Student Identification showing recent photo.
Visitors accompanying children under the age of 18 must also provide one of the following, ensuring they are current:
- Medicare Card
- Healthcare Card
- Concession Card
- Birth Certificate.
If you are accompanying someone else’s child, a Minor Visitor Authorisation form must be completed by all parties and approved.
At some prisons your identity will be verified using a biometric system. This is simply a method of identifying a person by placing that person's hand onto a machine that then reads the person's handprint.
There is a dress code when visiting prison facilities. You are required to dress to the following standard:
- Wear fully enclosed shoes. No thongs, sandals or Ugg boots are permitted.
- No hooded tops or jackets with hoods are to be worn.
- Clothing is not to be of a transparent type or designed or altered to be of a revealing nature.
- Clothing is to be clean and in good condition.
- No clothing that displays gang insignias, offensive slogans or obscene words, phrases or pictures is to be worn.
- No beanies, scarves, baseball caps, or sunglasses are to be worn.
- Plain broad-brimmed hats are permitted only when in outdoor visit areas at the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison and the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison.
- No jewellery is permitted, except for wedding rings, engagement rings and simple stud body piercings that staff are satisfied are permanent/unable to be physically removed by the visitor.
If you do not meet the appropriate dress code, you will not be allowed a visit.
Searches before entering the prison
You will be asked to assist staff to ensure no prohibited items are brought into the prison. A search could include one or all of the following:
- turning out your pockets
- opening your mouth for inspection
- being scanned by an electronic device
- walking through a metal detector
- standing still while a drug detection dog walks around you.
The purpose of drug detection dogs is to reduce the introduction of drugs into prisons and act as a deterrent to persons considering trafficking drugs into prison. With immediate effect, should a drug detector dog give an indication to you during a search, you will not be permitted entry into the prison.
Visitors with pacemakers and other medical devices fitted that may be affected by searching devices, need to make an application to the Superintendent, Directorate Security Unit to bypass the roto-turn (search) and provide a medical certificate. When you receive your letter of authorisation from the prison, your medical certificate and letter of authorisation must be shown on entry to the prison.
If prison staff reasonably suspect any visitor of carrying on their person an unauthorised item, the staff member may recommend to the Superintendent of the facility that you be further searched in a separate location. You may refuse to be searched further.
If you refuse to submit to a search, or if any unauthorised item is found as a result of the search, you will be refused entry into the prison and may be charged and found guilty of an offence under the Corrections Act 1997.
Under section 24 of the Corrections Act 1997997 a person who brings into a prison an item that the Director has not authorised to be brought into the prison is guilty of an offence. The penalty for introducing an unauthorised item into a prison is a fine not exceeding 20 penalty units or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.
How do I book a visit?
Please see the Visit a prisoner /detainee page (and the prison pages it links to) for details on how to book, visiting times, prison details and frequently asked questions.