How do I contact a prisoner?

How do I contact a prisoner?

The question “How do I contact a prisoner?” is a common one for people who have friends or family members incarcerated in the UK. Maintaining communication is crucial for the emotional well-being of both the inmate and their loved ones. In this article, we’ll guide you through the various ways you can contact a prisoner in the UK prison system.

Writing Letters: The Traditional Way

One of the most straightforward ways to contact a prisoner is by sending a letter. All you need is the inmate’s name, prison number, and the address of the prison. Letters are usually subject to inspection for security reasons, so keep that in mind when writing.

Tips for Sending Letters

  1. Include a Return Address: Always include your return address on the envelope.

  2. Be Mindful of Content: Avoid discussing sensitive or inappropriate topics as letters are often screened.

Phone Calls: The Direct Approach

Pre-Approval Required

Before you can receive a call from a prisoner, you usually need to be on their approved contact list. This involves a security check and sometimes requires proof of your relationship to the inmate.

Who Pays?

The cost of the call is generally deducted from the prisoner’s own account, which can be funded by family members or through prison wages.

How do I contact a prisoner?

How do I contact a prisoner?

Email Services: The Modern Method

Some UK prisons allow the use of approved email services designed specifically for inmate communication. These services are secure and monitored, but they offer a quicker way to send messages compared to traditional mail.

How it Works

  1. Sign Up: Register for an approved email service.

  2. Send Email: Write your email and send it through the service.

  3. Delivery: The email is printed out and delivered to the inmate.

Visits: Face-to-Face Contact

Scheduling a Visit

Visits usually need to be scheduled in advance and are subject to approval. You’ll often need to provide identification and may undergo a background check.

Types of Visits

  1. Social Visits: These are regular visits from family and friends.

  2. Legal Visits: These are visits from legal representatives and are usually conducted in a more private setting.

Special Cases: Legal and Emergency Contact

Legal Representatives

If you are a legal representative, you can usually contact the prisoner through confidential legal visits or calls.

Emergency Situations

In the case of a family emergency, special provisions may be made to allow immediate contact with the prisoner.

Rules and Regulations

  1. Security Measures: All forms of communication are subject to security measures, including screening and monitoring.

  2. Frequency and Duration: The frequency and duration of calls and visits may be limited based on prison policies and the inmate’s behaviour.


So, how do you contact a prisoner in the UK? Whether it’s through letters, phone calls, approved email services, or visits, there are multiple ways to stay in touch with an incarcerated loved one. Each method has its own set of rules and procedures, so it’s important to be familiar with these to ensure smooth communication. This guide provides a comprehensive look at the various options available, helping you navigate the complexities of the UK prison system when it comes to maintaining contact with inmates.