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What to Wear on a Prison Visit in the UK: Need To Know

Visiting a loved one or friend in UK prison can be a stressful experience. Following the proper dress code is key to getting approved for visitation. This article provides specifics on what is acceptable and prohibited attire when visiting UK prisons.

Overview of UK Prison Visitation Rules

The UK Prison Service provides guidelines that all visitors must adhere to:

  • No revealing, offensive, or provocative clothing
  • No blue denim, combat attire, or bright colors
  • No tight, sheer, ripped, or holes in clothing
  • Avoid excessive jewelry and accessories
  • Expect to go through metal detector screening

Rules are enforced by gate security. Visitors in violation of the dress code will be denied entry.

Dress Codes for Women Visitors

Women visiting UK prisons should avoid the following:

  • Low cut tops showing excessive cleavage
  • See-through or excessively tight garments
  • Skirts or shorts shorter than knee-length
  • Ripped jeans or jeans with holes
  • Leggings, yoga pants, sweat pants
  • Brightly colored clothing or prints
  • Revealing open back shirts or dresses
  • Any clothing with offensive logos, images, or slogans
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Instead, ideal choices include:

  • Modest dresses or long skirts below the knee
  • Dark colored trousers
  • Collared blouses or casual shirts
  • Cardigans or sweaters
  • Comfortable but conservative shoes
  • Minimal makeup and jewelry

The key is dressing conservatively and not wearing anything form-fitting or provocative.

Dress Codes for Men Visitors

Male visitors should similarly avoid:

  • Ripped or overly casual jeans
  • Shorts of any kind
  • Athletic wear including track pants and hoodies
  • Sleeveless vests or tank tops
  • Brightly colored clothing
  • Clothing with offensive slogans or images
  • Excessive jewelry like chains or oversized watches

Recommended options include:

  • Button down shirts or polos
  • Trousers including chinos, slacks, khakis
  • Simple shoes like loafers
  • Dark colored jumpers or cardigans
  • A belt with shirt tucked in

Conservative, clean-cut attire is required. Business casual is ideal.

Rules for Children’s Clothing

If bringing children along:

  • No overly revealing clothing
  • Avoid bright colors that could denote gang affiliation
  • No clothing with controversial images or wording
  • No ripped or tight jeans
  • Leggings must be worn under dress or skirt
  • Onesies acceptable for infants

Comfortable play outfits are fine as long as they meet guidelines.

Banned Clothing Items

The following are expressly prohibited:

  • Blue denim – Not permitted under any circumstance due to gang connotations
  • Camouflage – Banned for security reasons
  • Sports team attire – Jersey shirts or team logos are restricted
  • Hats and hoods – Must be removed for security screening
  • Coats and jackets – Outerwear must be stored in lockers

Leave any clothing falling into these categories at home.

Tips for Finding Approved Outfits

  • Shop for dress code suitable items well in advance of your scheduled visit
  • Look for wardrobe staples in dark, neutral colors
  • Avoid latest fashion trends and any provocative styles
  • Try on outfits and test flexibility – make sure nothing is too tight or revealing when bending over or reaching
  • Scarves, shawls, and ties should be simple with no controversial images/logos
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Give yourself plenty of options accounting for weather and last minute issues.

Screening Process at Check-In

At prison check-in, visitors go through multiple security checks:

  • ID verification – Photo ID is checked against approved visitors list
  • Metal detector – Scan screens for prohibited items
  • Pat down – Guests may undergo further physical inspection
  • Dress code check – Outfits are reviewed for violations
  • Contraband check – Bags, coats, gifts are carefully searched

If any contraband is found or dress code violated, visitation is denied.

Consequences of Wearing Unapproved Outfits

If your attire violates prison visitation policies, these are the consequences:

  • Denied entry with no visit that day
  • Future visits may be blocked or require re-approval
  • Embarrassment and frustration after long journeys to the prison
  • Letting down the incarcerated loved one expecting the visit
  • Wasted time and money making the trip to the facility

Avoid this by carefully adhering to the dress code.


Visiting loved ones in UK prisons comes with a strict dress code. Following the conservative clothing guidelines helps ensure a smooth entry process and a successful visit. Leave prohibited items like ripped jeans or hoodies at home. Both male and female visitors should opt for modest, non-revealing choices absent of logos and bright colors. Dress for a formal occasion to respect facilities’ security needs. Focus your visit on connecting with your incarcerated family or friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does every UK prison have the same visitation dress code?

Generally yes, since policies come from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. But always check your specific prison’s website for any facility-specific variations.

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Can I just wear whatever is comfortable?

No, prisons have very strict dress code rules that exclude casual and revealing clothing for security reasons. Following them is mandatory for getting approved to visit.

Do the rules differ for solicitors or professional visitors?

Solicitors and professionals may have slightly more leniency but should still avoid casual wear. Check with the specific prison for guidelines.

Can I change clothes if denied for my outfit?

Usually not; once denied entry you will not be allowed to visit that day. Come appropriately dressed the first time to avoid this.

Can I wear jewelry?

Minimal jewelry like a simple necklace, rings, stud earrings are OK but avoid anything excessive. Bangles, chains, hoops may show up on the metal detector.

Prison Inside Team

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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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