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How Many Visits Can a Prisoner Have a Month in the UK?

Visits are an important privilege for prisoners in the UK to maintain connections with family and friends. However, prisons place limits on how many visits inmates can receive each month for operational and security reasons. The number of visits allowed depends on the prisoner’s security categorization and behavior. This article examines the typical visitation policies in UK prisons.

Factors Determining Prisoner Visit Allowances

Several key factors affect how many visits per month a prisoner in the UK may receive:

Security Categorization

An inmate’s security categorization (A, B, C, D) is the primary determinant of visitation rights. Category A prisoners face the tightest restrictions.

Behavioral Record

Well-behaved prisoners tend to earn extra visits as an incentive. Those with disciplinary offenses get fewer visits.

Prison Resources

Availability of staff and space to supervise and facilitate visits impacts scheduling. Overcrowding can limit visits.

Sentenced vs. Unsentenced

Unsentenced prisoners on remand may get more flexible visits than sentenced inmates. Immigration detainees also may get additional allowances.

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With these factors in mind, let’s look at the typical number of visits permitted based on security categorization.

Monthly Visits Allowed by Prisoner Category

The table below summarizes the normal range of monthly visits granted to prisoners in each security category:

Prisoner Security CategoryVisits Allowed Per Month
Category A1-2
Category B2-4
Category C3-5
Category D4-6

These figures reflect baseline policies under standard conditions. Frequency may be increased for good behavior or decreased for rule violations.

Duration of Visits

In addition to limiting number of visits, UK prisons also cap the length of each visit:

  • Category A prisoners: 30-60 minutes
  • Category B: 30-90 minutes
  • Category C: 60-120 minutes
  • Category D: 90-120 minutes

So higher category inmates are restricted both in terms of fewer monthly visits and shorter visit durations.

Other Visitation Restrictions

On top of frequency and duration limits, other common restrictions include:

  • Limits on visitors per visit, typically 2-4 adults
  • Prohibitions on visitors under age 18
  • No physical contact allowed for Category A inmates
  • Loss of visits for prisoners in segregation

Prisons can also ban individual visitors or terminate any visits deemed problematic to maintain control.

Exceptions to Standard Visitation Rules

While the guidelines above reflect normal policies, exceptions are made in special cases:

  • Child prisoners may get extra family visits
  • Hospitalized inmates may receive more flexible visits
  • Lawyers and religious officials often get additional visits
  • Holidays may permit extra or longer visits

But generally, exceptions are rare due to stringent security protocols in UK prisons.


In summary, prisoners in the UK can typically receive 1-6 visits monthly depending on their categorization, conduct record, and facility resources. While Category D inmates may get up to 6 visits, Category A prisoners face much stricter limitations of only 1-2 short visits per month. Prisons maintain tight control over all aspects of visitation to uphold security and order. But visits remain a key privilege for UK inmates to retain family and community bonds during incarceration.

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FAQs About Prisoner Visitation in the UK

How do visitors get approved?

Prospective visitors must submit an application with details on their relationship to the prisoner. If approved, they are added to the prisoner’s authorized visitor list.

Can prisons limit specific visitors?

Yes, prisons can impose bans on visitors deemed problematic or dangerous, even if already on an approved list.

What are the rules for visitor dress code and conduct?

Visitors must follow all prison rules regarding appropriate dress, no smoking, no exchanges with prisoners, etc. Failure can result in denied entry or ejection.

How early should visitors arrive?

Arrive well in advance of the scheduled time to allow for security checks and processing. Late arrivals risk forfeiting that day’s visit.

Can prisoners receive gifts or items from visitors?

No, visitors are prohibited from passing any items to prisoners without authorization from staff.

Are special family event visits allowed?

Rarely, a wedding or funeral visit may be approved for close relatives. However, special visits are highly restricted in UK prisons.

Can well behaved prisoners earn extra visits?

Yes, additional visits can be awarded as an incentive for good behavior, at the discretion of prison management.

What are grounds for denying a scheduled visit?

Visits can be denied for reasons like lack of staff, disciplinary actions, inappropriate clothing, contraband, etc.

Imran Khan

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We are dedicated to exploring the intricacies of prison life and justice reform through firsthand experiences and expert insights.

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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