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Rules and regulations for visiting a prison

Queensland Corrective Services encourages prisoners to maintain strong links with their family and friends during their time in prison.

You are invited to visit your family member or friend while they are in prison, but you must follow some simple rules and regulations.

Number of visitors

The number of persons allowed to visit and the length of time of the visit varies from prison to prison. As a general rule, most centres allow either one two-hour or two one-hour visits per week. Please contact the appropriate prison for further information.

How to apply for a visit

Before visiting a correctional centre for the first time, a personal visitor must apply for approval using a Form 27 Application to Visit a Prisoner (Personal Visitor).

This form can be obtained:

Once this form has been sent to the correctional facility, centre staff will undertake a security check on you, which can take a few weeks.
Make sure you declare ANY convictions you may have on this form. You must return the Form 27 to the correctional centre along with photocopies of appropriate identification, which must be signed by a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner of Declarations.
Accepted proof of identification is:
EITHER A current driver's licence or passport
OR Any three (3) of the following:

  • Medicare card
  • Pension or Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Other photographic identification
  • Credit or bank card with a signature
  • A statutory declaration verifying the visitor's identity and signature which has been signed by a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner of Declarations.

You will not be able to visit the centre until a security clearance and criminal history checks have been done on you.
The correctional centre keeps a register of all people who have received security clearances, which includes information on:

  • the full name of the visitor
  • date of birth of the visitor
  • date of the security check
  • file number of any criminal history of the visitor
  • the prisoner(s) who is/are being visited

Each visitor's security clearance will be updated every 12 months.
Once clearance is granted by the correctional centre, you will be able to make a visit booking. All personal visits to a prisoner MUST be booked in advance during nominated booking times.
Don't forget, you will need to bring approved identification with you EVERY time you visit the correctional centre.

What to wear when you visit a prison

There are very strict rules about what you can wear when visiting a prisoner. You must wear proper shoes or sandals (no thongs), and your clothes must be clean and in good condition. You will not be allowed to wear clothes with obscene or offensive words  diagrams or gang related symbols on them, or clothes that are revealing.
You are allowed to wear your wedding or engagement ring, but please remove all other jewellery before you come to the prison.
As every prison has its own system for visiting prisoners, please make sure you ring the relevant prison for additional information about bookings procedures and regulations.

Entering the prison

Please make sure that you arrive at the prison at least 45 minutes before your visit starts – each centre has specific arrangements, so please refer to the visitor fact sheet for the centre you wish to visit.

If you are late, you may not be allowed to enter the prison.
When you arrive, go to the reception desk in the visits area to confirm your booking. If you have not already done so, complete an application form and show your identification. If you do not have the right identification, you will not be allowed to enter the prison.

Security and searches

In many prisons, you may be subject to security screening with electronic drug detection devices or passive alert detection dogs. If you refuse to submit to a scan or search, or return a positive result, you may be refused entry to the prison or be limited to a non-contact visit.
A police officer who reasonably suspects that a visitor is attempting to take a prohibited item into a prison or attempting to remove anything from a prison or attempting to interview or photograph a prisoner or part of a facility may stop, detain and search the visitor. If contraband is found, a visitor may be charged with an offence.
The search may, at the discretion of the police officer, be a general search or may involve the removal of all clothing. Additionally, if a police officer reasonably suspects that a vehicle may have in it evidence of the commission of an offence as previously described, the officer may stop, detain and search the vehicle. If contraband is found, a visitor may be charged with an offence.

Your behaviour while visiting prison

Inappropriate behaviour by you or the person you are visiting will not be tolerated and may result in the termination of your visit.
Smoking is not permitted in any prison in Queensland.
If the prisoner visits area does not provide toilets, facilities will be available before or after your visit in the administration building where you first signed in. If the prisoner visits area does provide toilets and you need to use them, in order to reduce the likelihood of contraband entering centres, the remainder of the visit may continue as non-contact or the visit may be terminated.
Please make sure you keep an eye on your children at all times and ensure they do not interfere with or disturb other visitors or prisoners during the visit period.
People who are believed to be under the influence of a substance will not be allowed to enter the prison.
Any visitor or prisoner who fails to maintain an acceptable level of behaviour, after being cautioned, will have their visit terminated and their visiting privileges will be reviewed.

Children as visitors

Queensland Corrective Services has a strict prison visitor booking and processing system to ensure community safety and crime prevention standards are upheld. In particular, it must consider the best interests of children who visit a prisoner in a corrective services facility.
Visitors should note the following conditions, which may apply to any visitor (new or existing):

  • If you apply to bring a child to visit a prisoner, the person in charge of the facility must be satisfied that there is an established relationship between the prisoner and the child, and that there are no court orders preventing contact between the child and the prisoner.
  • The person in charge may also consider whether it is in the best interests of the child to allow a contact visit with a prisoner. The person in charge may impose conditions on the visitor and prisoner in the best interests of the child.
  • If you are granted approval to bring a child into a corrective services facility, you will be asked to provide proof of the child's identity.
  • If you are under the age of 18 and are not accompanied by an adult, you will be required to show proof of identity before being granted access to the facility.
    Examples of suitable identification for children include:
    a) One of the following:
    • Student identification card
    • Current passport
    • Any other identification card showing a recent photograph

b) Two of the following:

    • Current Medicare card
    • Current entitlement card issued by the Government
    • Birth certificate
    • Current student statement of enrolment
    • Education report less than six months old
  • Before arriving for a visit, all visitors are advised to check visiting times as some of these may have changed since your last visit.
  • The person in charge of the facility may approve contact or non-contact visits with a prisoner, regardless of the type of visits you have had before. Contact visits are personal visits during which there is direct physical contact between the prisoner and visitor. Non-contact visits are personal visits during which there is no direct physical contact between the prisoner and visitor.
  • If you have any questions about identification, please contact the visits staff at the facility you wish to visit.

If you are not happy with the decision of the person in charge of the facility regarding your application to visit, you may seek a review of the decision.  . These conditions have been made to ensure that the security of the facility and the safety of visitors is not compromised and to ensure everyone can enjoy their visit without unnecessary disruption.

Property items

A visit is not the time or place to be giving money, papers or personal items to prisoners. However, property items that have been approved prior to the visit can be given to the Visits Processing Officers at the time of your visit.

Property items include things such as socks, singlets, underclothes and clothes for court. Items such as cards, letters and photographs can be sent to a prisoner through the mail or left with the Visits Processing Officers BEFORE your visit.

In many correctional centres, all incoming property for prisoners must be pre-approved. The approved items and hand-in forms must be handed to visits staff BEFORE the visit starts. If you do not have a hand-in form, the items will not be accepted.

If you wish to deposit money into a prisoner’s trust account, please have the correct amount and give it to the Visits Processing Officers BEFORE your visit.

No toiletries, food items, tobacco or cigarettes are allowed to be taken inside correctional centres for prisoners.

Prohibited items

In accordance with regulations, you may NOT bring the following items into a correctional centre, without authority:

  • a weapon, replica of a weapon or replica under the Weapons Act 1990
  • an explosive or ammunition under the Explosives Act 1999
  • a flammable substance
  • anything capable of being used to scale a fence, wall, door or gate, including, for example, a grappling hook, ladder or rope
  • anything capable of cutting or spreading metal bars
  • anything capable of damaging or destroying a fitting or fixture designed to detain prisoners
  • a key, card or other device capable of opening a mechanical or electronic lock
  • soap or another substance that contains an impression of a prohibited thing, including, for example, a key
  • a knife, saw, scissors or another cutting implement
  • kitchen utensils, equipment or tools
  • a spirituous or fermented fluid or substance of an intoxicating nature
  • a drug or medicine
  • a syringe or other device capable of administering a drug
  • cash, a credit card, debit card, cheque or money order or another negotiable instrument
  • a passport
  • a form of identification, including, for example, a false identification anything capable of being used to alter a prisoner's appearance so that it significantly differs from the prisoner's appearance described in the record kept under section 105 of the Act, including, for example, a tattooing device
  • a communication device, including, for example, a computer, modem, phone, radio or radio scanner
  • any of the following:
    • an objectionable computer game under the Classification of Computer Games and Images Act 1995
    • a film that is classified as an R film under the Classification of Films Act 1991, an objectionable film under the Act, or a film that, if it was classified under the Act, would be classified as an R film or an objectionable film
    • a prohibited publication under the Classification of Publications Act 1991
  • anything that has been modified from its usual form to enable something to be concealed in it
  • anything that poses a risk to the security or good order of a corrective services facility, including, for example, a drawing, plan or photo of the facility
  • a tobacco or smoking product
  • a smokeless tobacco product
  • any part of a thing mentioned above, for example, the needle of a syringe

Last updated: 03 December 2014